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Sports Eye Injuries and UV and the Effects on the Eyes
Sports Eye Injuries Facts
According to the National Society to Prevent Blindness, almost 40,000 eye injuries were reported to be related to sports and recreational products. This number only reflects those that were reported, and estimates have been as much as 100,000. The sad part about eye injuries is that they often result in permanent damage, and over 90% of the injuries sustained could have been prevented. Many athletes have lost their careers due to an eye injuries. The eyes are probably one the most important part of the body needed to effectively compete in sports. However, most people do not take any measures to protect them. They protect their heads with helmets and their bodies with pads, but few wear eyewear to protect their eyes.
There are many factors that will increase your risk to injury. Those with low skill levels, often found in the younger athletes, are at a greater risk. About 44% of the reported injuries were to children under the age of 14. Thus, young children should be protected, as any eye injury could permanently end ones future in sports. Also, those with pre-existing eye conditions are at a bigger risk. For instance, if one is playing with low vision in one eye and good vision in another, precautions should be taken to protect the good eye, as injury to the good eye could result in vision loss, reducing the overall vision of the athlete. Also, those with high prescriptions might be at a bigger risk for permanent damage due to the inherent weaknesses pre-existing in their eyes. Also, those who have had eye surgery may also be at greater risk, since surgery may have weakened the natural state of the eye.
Other factors that increase your risk is the sport you are playing. Participating in a moderate to high risk sport signals the need for eye protection. Low risk sports usually do not involve a ball or bat, and are usually individual sports. (i.e. swimming, track and field, etc.). Moderate risk sports may involve the use of a ball or bat, and team sports. Sports injuries usually are a result of the ball hitting the eye, or a teammate or opponent poking the eye with a body part. Such sports should require protective eyewear. High risk sports are sports that involve direct physical contact, such as boxing or wrestling. Unfortunately, no protective eyewear can be worn in these sports. Caution should be taken by those who are have an existing eye weakness in participating in such sports.
Eye injuries may seem rare, but they are not. More aggressive play in sports recently has resulted in more and more eye injuries being reported every year. Take precautions now to ensure a successful sports future.
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The depletion of the ozone layer has become a serious problem for the health and welfare of the world's population. As the ozone layer depletes, we are becoming more and more exposed to harmful ultraviolet radiation. UV effects all parts of our bodies, including our eyes. UV has been proven to cause various eye problems, such as cataracts, sunburn to the eyelids, pterygium, skin cancer around the eyes, and macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of vision loss among older Americans.
Ultraviolet is the invisible part of light, made up of UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. With prolonged exposure to UV, you eye may begin to turn opaque. Ultraviolet light is found between 50 nanometers and 380 nanometers (wavelength of light), whereas visible light is between 381 nanometers and 770 nanometers. The term UV 400 stems from this. It is recommended that you protect yourself from UV radiation up to 400 nanometers, which extends into part of the visible spectrum to ensure complete blockage of ultraviolet light. This is what distinguishes "cheap" sunglasses from more expensive ones. Dime store sunglasses often say that they protect from UV when they really do not. Most will block harmful UVC and UVB rays, but most do not block the most damaging UVA rays. This is why UV 400 is so important. UVA rays are the ones closest to the visible spectrum, and are known to cause cataracts and pterygium at 300 to 380 nanometers. Since most inexpensive sunglasses to do not cover this range, you are still at risk. Thus, it is worth it to spend a little more to guarantee full protection.
Other Factors Affecting UV:
Many other factors affect the amount of UV that will actually reach your eyes. As already mentioned, the depleting ozone layer is continuing to increase our risk every year. Reflections off the earth's surface also compounds the effects. Earth and grass reflect 5%, sand 17%, water 20%, and snow 85%. This is why it is so important to wear eyewear with UV protection when participating in outdoor sports. Clouds and haze may also increase the amount of radiation reaching the ground, where dark clouds may actually reduce the amount of radiation. The seasons and the time of day also make a difference. Contrary to what you might first assume, UV radiation is most in the winter and spring, than it is in the heat of the summer. In fact, it is almost 17 times as bad in the winter and spring, than summer months. Also, at noon, the amount of radiation is ten times more than during other hours. Altitude also increases radiation, with an increase intensity of 16% for every 1000 meters above sea level. This compounded with the reflection of snow, and the winter and spring months make the biggest risk for UV radiation damage. Thus, those participating in winter sports should take the necessary precautions. Pharmaceutical drugs may also increase you susceptibility to UV radiation. Check with your doctor if you are on any medications.
Protecting your Contact Lenses
The apparition of contact lenses brought a revolution in the field of eye and sight care.
The apparition of contact lenses brought a revolution in the field of eye and sight care. Nowadays tens of contact lens types are available for everyone with eye problems or sight distortions or for those who just simply want to change their eye color. Contact lenses are to be found in pharmacies, shops and even more online. You can use prescription contact lenses or just buy them without doctor’s advice. According to your needs you can choose from traditional contact lenses, daily, weekly or monthly disposable lenses, freshlook colored contacts, toric lenses for astigmatism and so much more.
The question, how people can protect their contact lenses when practicing sports, pops up frequently. Even more, can we wear contact lenses while swimming, playing tennis or football? According to specialists there is no problem in wearing contact lenses while practicing sports, but taking care effectively of them is necessary, not only for your contacts, but your eyes too.
Swimming is maybe the most dangerous sport for your eyes and lenses. You can swim with contacts on, but is dangerous. Different microorganisms, bacteria, toxins can easily get into your eyes if you do not act properly. Acanthamoeba easy to be found in rivers or lakes can seriously harm your eyes, by getting under your contact lenses causing inflammation and irritation of your cornea. Chlorine can easily stick to you contact lenses when swimming in pools, damaging it, hurting your eyes.
Wearing protective goggles is an efficient method of protecting your contact lenses. Fitting perfectly on your eyes it bans bacteria and microbes getting on your lens’ surface and also prevents your contact’s dislodging from your eyes. Choosing disposable and soft lenses instead of hard, traditional lenses can be a good option for you. Not only because you can throw them after swimming, but having a larger circumference, they fit firmly to your eyes, not letting bacteria and toxins get into your eyes harming them.
Making your contact lenses stick to your eyes, preventing them from drying during swimming, sterile saline solution is good to be applied on the lenses you are using. And finally, if you are not wearing disposable lenses always be sure you cleaned them properly after using them. Rinse well your lenses and after that disinfect them with multipurpose contact lens solution.