As more top athletes are seen wearing protective eye gear, those glasses, goggles and masks that kids used to hate have suddenly become cool. Not only do they tell the world they take playing seriously, they can also enhance performance. But even the best gear in the world won’t do any good if it’s not worn, so how do you ensure your young athlete will use the eyewear you’ve gone to the trouble and expense to provide it? It all comes down to fit and function.
Choose Impact Resistant Sports Eyewear
Not all sports eyewear is the same. Player-tested sports goggles and eyeglasses from Liberty Sport have high-impact nylon frames and polycarbonate lenses that meet ASTM F803 standards for impact resistance. Their molded padding provides grip, comfort, and long-lasting protection. Eyeglass temple material adds flex, grip, and comfort during play, and straps, bands, and venting on both frames and goggles keep our eyewear in place for maximum performance. Our advanced eyerim design accommodates a wide range of prescriptions or can be worn in non-prescription.
Eye injuries account for an estimated 100,000 doctor visits by children each year—most of them sports-related—and are the leading cause of blindness in children in the U.S. As many as 90% of those injuries could be prevented with protective eyewear so be sure to start with the impact rating of the frame by sport as a start to selecting the right protective eyewear.
Select the Best Gear for the Sport
Balls, racquets, sticks or any flying objects represent potential eye injury as well as hands and fingers to the face or the eye. But different activities present different hazards, so some sports call for different eyewear that others. For details on the appropriate eyewear for various sports, click here.
Hunting, Fishing, Hiking, Golf, Tennis, Track and Field and Bicycling
These are all low-risk for injury due to flying objects, but any outdoor activity carries the risk of long-term eyesight damage due to sunlight. Participants should wear performance sunglasses with polarized lenses that have anti-scratch and anti-fog coatings. If they like to crowd the net, goggles might be a better choice for your budding Wimbledonians. Skiers and snowboarders should choose ski goggles or wraparound sunglasses with polarized, mirror-coated lenses.
Baseball and Softball
These sports call for polarized sport sunglasses or goggles in the field and helmets with polycarbonate face shields for batting. Catchers can choose a traditional mesh or hockey-style facemask behind the plate.
Soccer, Basketball and Volleyball
A ball in the face can certainly hurt, but the larger risk to eyes in the sports is getting poked by another player. Wraparound sports goggles with vents and anti-fog, anti-scratch coatings are the best choices.
Handball, Racquetball, Squash and Badminton
Each of these sports involves a high-speed projectile that can do a lot of damage very quickly. With objects hurtling toward young eyes at up to 200 mph, vented sports goggles with anti-fog polycarbonate lenses are a must.
Hockey and Lacrosse
High-speed projectiles and flying sticks in these sports call for full-face protection. Lacrosse players need padded face masks, while hockey players need full-face helmets to protect against head injury. Goalies in both sports need full helmets and face masks.
Swimmers and divers have specialized goggles and masks appropriate to their sports, Water polo players and water skiers need polycarbonate goggles to protect against fingers and flying objects.
Football players should have polycarbonate face shields attached to their helmets. Paintball players need full-face helmets. Fencers have distinctive wire mesh masks. Boxers and most martial artists fight unprotected, so along with brain and other injuries, corneal abrasions and retinal detachment are risks. Regular eye exams are essential.
Fit the Gear to the Player
No matter how carefully you choose your child’s sports eyewear, they won’t wear it if it’s not comfortable. If the glasses or goggles slip around or don’t fit properly, the protection they give is compromised, if they even get worn at all. The same holds for eyewear they’ve outgrown.
Poor fit can affect performance, too. Peripheral vision can be compromised, and prescriptions can change. Check the fit of your child’s sports eyewear at the start of every season. Make sure they sit properly and any padding rests comfortably in place. Check that the eyes are centered in the lenses both vertically and horizontally. Crisp, clear vision is essential for good performance, too, so make sure prescriptions are up-to-date.
Optimal Lens Tints and Coatings for Active Play
Once you have the right frame and fit, lens tints and coatings are another important factor to consider on your polycarbonate lens. If you have a goggle fit in particular, be sure to get an anti-fog coating on the lens and anti-reflective coating with scratch hard coat to protect the lens and minimize glare during active wear.
At Liberty Sport, we offer an exclusive Fogblok anti-fogging coating that we recommend on all of our sport protective frames. If you are playing an outdoor sport, you may also want to consider a tint for UV protection or even a photochromic lens that will change from dark to light as needed based on the amount of sunlight.
Liberty Sport is committed to preventing sports eye injuries in children and providing complete frame and lens protection. Take a look at our choices in Youth Protective Sports Eyewear to find the style that’s right for your young athlete.