On the Field: Eye Safety When Gearing Up for a New Sports Season

On the Field: Eye Safety When Gearing Up for a New Sports Season

Eye Safety Sports - Dr. Jeff Kegarise & Dr. Susan Kegarise

The events of 2020 have brought safety to the forefront of discussion. We all want to find the best ways to keep our families (and others!) as safe as possible. As the school year gets into full swing, kids are headed back out to the sporting fields. Have you considered your child’s eye safety while they participate in the sports they love?


American football has gotten a bad reputation for being a dangerous sport. While we’d like to avoid all injuries, eye injuries can especially hinder kids’ daily activities and cause them to fall behind in their classes. For those whose children are participating in football, I recommend getting them a pair of sports goggles for added protection under their facemask.

Sports goggles protect from trauma due to close contact (an elbow or finger to the eyeball is not fun), as well as from debris that could be kicked up from the field in the shuffle. For children who require glasses to correct their vision, prescription sports goggles are especially valuable. They will stay in place, ensuring that kids can see where they’re going and what they’re doing at all times without worrying about constantly adjusting their eyewear.

Tip: If your child is resistant to the idea of wearing sports goggles, invest in a helmet with a clear eye shield instead.

Cross Country

While running long distances doesn’t carry the same contact risk as a sport like football, your eyes can still be affected. Since this is an outdoor sport where kids will spend long periods of time in the sun, it’s important to protect their eyes from harmful UV rays. Sunglasses that filter out both UVA and UVB rays should do the trick. There are lots of great options for sports sunglasses that will stay on better during a long haul trek. Sports goggles with UV protection are also an option for avoiding slipping sunglasses.

Tip: Brimmed hats (baseball cap style) can provide added protection for runners’ eyes.


Like cross country, tennis is a low- to no-contact sport, but that doesn’t mean your child’s eyes should be unprotected. I recommend sports goggles with UV protection or sports sunglasses for tennis players. With any sport there is a level of risk, but tennis balls flying in your direction at high speeds present more of a risk for traumatic eye injuries.

Make sure that all goggles and sunglasses (no matter what sport they’re for) are made out of shatter-resistant polycarbonate. This material is much stronger than other translucent plastics and is therefore better for effectively protecting the eyes. In addition, goggles and lenses made from this material filter out all UV light, providing double protection.

Tip: Not sure where to purchase your children’s eye protection? Ask your eye care professional. They can help you with recommendations and might even sell them at their office.

September is Sports Eye Safety Month, so talk to your child about how they would prefer to protect their eyes while staying active this fall.

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