March Madness is in full swing – and that means we’re all glued to our TV screens, rooting on our favorite basketball teams!

No matter which college team has your support, you may have noticed that more athletes are wearing eye protection while they’re on the court.  At first glance, it might seem unusual why basketball players are wearing eye protection; why aren’t we seeing the same phenomenon in other high-risk sports, like baseball?

As it turns out, basketball is the high-risk sport for eye injuries. In a 2014 report from the American Optometric Association (AOA) and the National Eye Institute (NEI), it was estimated that 1 in 10 college basketball players would experience an eye injury during the season.  In many cases, these eye injuries not only have the potential to sideline an athlete for the season; they can also cause permanent damage.

Whether you play basketball on a team or just enjoy a casual game of pickup, make like your favorite college athletes and wear appropriate eye protection.  Here are a few more tips to keep your eyes safe on and off the court:

  • Meet with your ophthalmologist to pick the most appropriate protective eyewear for your particular sport. Taking this step is especially important if you have poor eyesight, as you’ll want your protective gear to allow you to continue to enjoy clear vision.
  • Ensure there’s always an emergency kit nearby when you’re playing. This emergency kit should include saline to help flush any irritants out of the eye.
  • Keep the emergency number of your ophthalmologist on speed dial so you can quickly access the help you need in case of any eye-related emergencies.

To learn more about reducing your risks for experiencing eye injuries during March Madness – or any other season! – schedule a consultation with Dr. Jacqueline Griffiths at NewView Eye Center in Reston, Virginia.  NewView Eye Center serves the greater Washington, D.C. metro area.