The National Eye Institute (NEI) warns that most eye-related injuries in school-aged children are related to playing sports. Eye injuries are the number one cause of blindness in children in the United States. Protective eyewear can reduce the risk for injury when playing sports.
If your child wears prescription glasses, they are not designed to be safe for playing sports. Sports glasses are specialized lenses made of materials that are sturdier, more durable, and safer for the eyes during physical activity and sports. (Learn More)
Sports glasses can lower the risk for eye injuries, help your child to see better, and enhance sports performance while keeping them safer than they would be without them. (Learn More)
Wearing regular glasses while playing sports is extremely dangerous, as these lenses can easily shatter and cause injury to the eye. (Learn More) Sports glasses generally cost more than traditional prescription glasses, but the benefits outweigh the costs. (Learn More)
In short, if your child needs prescription corrective lenses to see and they play sports, they should be wearing prescription sports glasses.
What Are Sports Glasses?
Sports glasses are typically made from polycarbonate materials that are 10 times sturdier and impact-resistant than traditional glasses lenses made out of plastic or glass. Polycarbonate materials absorb impact better by being a softer material.
These lenses are also more lightweight and offer 100 percent UV protection. Sports glasses are often coated with scratch-resistant coating to further protect them from damage.
Sports glasses can be made in the specific prescription that your child needs. Frames are fitted for comfort, durability, and function for specific sports.
Frames are made from durable materials that are designed to give some with impact. The eye opening in sports glasses is typically larger and wider than with traditional lenses. If they do get hit, the impact from the glasses is not near the eye or the eye socket.
Nearly every sport can benefit from the use of sports glasses if a prescription is needed. Sports glasses can sometimes be used as a spare set of glasses, as it isn't harmful to wear them when not participating in sports. The prescription should be the same as your child's regular glasses.
Benefits of Sports Glasses
Protective eyewear like sports glasses can decrease the risk for eye injuries by covering and protecting the eyes.
Many sports glasses come in the form of goggles that fit snugly on the face and are held on by a strap. This prevents them from moving around the face while running or participating in sports. They are generally lighter in weight and sleeker in design than regular prescription eyewear.
Prescription sports glasses can improve performance on the field or court by making it easier for the child to see more clearly. They can better focus on objects and people and properly judge distance.
These specialty glasses can also offer:
- Protection from the sun.
- Better contrast viewing.
- Glare reduction.
Risks of Wearing Regular Glasses Instead of Sports Glasses
Traditional prescription glasses for children have lenses that are typically made out of plastic or even polycarbonate or Trivex materials. Many glasses designed for children are meant to be more shatter-resistant and less breakable. As a result, they do not use regular glass lenses.
Even though the lenses themselves may be made out of the same material as prescription sports glasses, the frames are different. It is often the sports glasses frames that protect the eyes the most.
Traditional prescription glasses do not offer adequate protection from balls or impact the way that specially designed sports glasses do. Sports glasses are differently shaped; they fit more snugly; and they are designed to be used during sports to offer the highest level of eye protection.
Regular glasses can break during impact. Pieces of the lens or frame can go into the eye or bruise the face or eye socket. Not wearing sports glasses while playing sports increases the risk for injury, and it can decrease reaction times and overall performance.
Costs of Sports Glasses
Due to their specialized nature, sports glasses are going to cost more than regular prescription eyewear. Your eye doctor may offer discounts for buying a second pair of glasses, such as sports glasses, however. Your insurance may also be able to offset some of the costs of sports glasses, depending on your coverage and plan specifics.
Just like with regular glasses, the cost of sports glasses can vary widely. It is beneficial to do your research and shop around for the best price.
Since prescription sports glasses are often more costly than traditional prescription glasses, it may be tempting to go without. The cost is worth protecting your child’s eye health. Wearing appropriate protective eyewear while participating in vigorous physical activity is one of the most best ways to reduce the risk of injury to the eyes.
Check with your eye doctor about the specifics of obtaining prescription sports glasses for your child.
About Sports Injury and Protective Eyewear. National Eye Institute (NEI).
Polycarbonate vs. Trivex Eyeglass Lenses: Which Are Right for You? (August 2017). All About Vision.
Eyeglasses That Enhance Sports Performance. (August 2017). All About Vision.
10 Tips for Buying Kids' Eyewear. (August 2017). All About Vision.