Skip to main content
Home » Eye to Eye Articles » Protective Sports Eyewear

Protective Sports Eyewear

One of the fastest growing segments of the eyecare industry has been eyewear designed specifically to protect the eyes during sports. Originally, this type of eyewear was seen more in professional sports, but the need for eye protection has spread rapidly to non-professional sports as well.

Today, sports eyewear can be spotted on almost anyone who picks up a ball, bat, racquet or stick—whether they play in the major leagues or the Little League. Fortunately, coaches, parents and players now realize that wearing protective eyewear for sports pays off in several ways. The risk of eye damage is reduced or eliminated, and the player’s performance is enhanced by the fact that they see well. In fact, most clubs today do not permit their members to participate without wearing proper eye gear.

Initially, there was some resistance by children to “looking funny” when they wore protective eyewear. Today, sports goggles are an accepted part of everyday life, much the way bike helmets have become the norm. In addition, both children and adults like the image that wearing protective eyewear gives them; it shows they mean business on the playing field.

Prevent Blindness America reports that hospital emergency rooms treat 40,000 eye injuries every year that are sports-related. Even non-contact sports such as badminton can present inherent dangers to the eyes. Any sports in which balls, racquets or flying objects are present pose a potential for eye injury.

Sports such as racquetball, tennis and badminton may seem relatively harmless, but they involve objects moving at 60 miles per hour or faster. During a typical game, a racquetball can travel between 60 and 200 miles per hour. Another potential danger is that the racquets themselves move at high speed in a confined space and often make contact with your partner.

Flying objects aren’t the only hazard. Many eye injuries come from pokes and jabs by fingers and elbows, particularly in games where players are in close contact with each other. Basketball, for example, has an extremely high rate of eye injury. So does swimming, where no flying objects are involved.

These are great reasons to wear protective eyewear. Another aspect has to do with performance. It used to be common for people with mild to moderate prescriptions to simply participate in sports without wearing their glasses or contacts. Coaches and players have recognized that clear, sharp vision is a vital ingredient in sports performance and participating in sports with less than 20/20 vision is counterproductive.

Features to Look for:

Prescription glasses, sunglasses and even on-the-job industrial safety glasses do not provide adequate protection for sports use. Sports goggles are made in a variety of shapes and sizes. Many are designed for racquet sports and are available for basketball and soccer. Some are even designed to fit in helmets used for football, hockey and baseball. Sports goggles should allow the use of helmets when the sport calls for it.

Lenses in sports eyewear are usually made of polycarbonate or trivex. Both these materials are impact-resistant lens materials, and they work well to protect eyes from fast-moving objects.

For sport eyewear, your frames or goggles are just as important as the lens material. Different sports require different types of sport-specific frames. Most sport frames are available in both prescription and nonprescription forms. Typically, frames are constructed of highly impact-resistant plastic or polycarbonate, and most come with rubber padding to cushion the frame where it encounters the head or nose.

The staff at Cockrell Eyecare are experts in fitting sports related frames and lenses. If you have questions, we invite you to visit our optical gallery and speak with one of our opticians. Call ahead for an exam if necessary to Stillwater at 405-372-1715. We look forward to helping you stay safe in all your sports related activities. We also invite you to visit our website at and like us on Facebook at Cockrell Eye Care Center!