Safety Glasses and Spoggles in Sports
Posted by BEN HARTSHORN
When it comes to staying safe in sport your eyes are you best asset. Clear, unobstructed sight gives you the best chance to avoid danger by seeing the hazard early. Visual impairment can hit you in many forms; from seering sunlight to low-light conditions, from the blunt force impact of a racquet or softball to windswept grit and salty sweat working into your eyeball. Protecting your eyes in sport not only prevents painful damage, but can increase performance by heightening your most vital sense.
Any sport that includes bats, sticks, racquets and objects that fly around at high speed should prompt serious consideration of the use of protective eyewear. It may surprise non-players of this sport but according to statistics (and a recent study), doubles badminton is the sport with the highest risk of eye injury. Other sports may pose risks of more severe injury, but in terms of frequency of eye injury badminton is top. In the case of badminton it is a perception of danger issue - it is not thought dangerous so eye protection is not regularly used and players are not aware of the potential for injury, whereas the opposite is true for for sport with more obvious hazards.
In sports like squash, where fast and aggressive action is confined to a small area, the advantages of protecting the eyes from impact are clear. Other sports such as track and field may not immediately spring to mind as posing a risk to eye safety but injuries are common and protection just as important. Everything from harmful UV rays to foreign objects, eyes are as vulnerable as they are valuable.
Extreme sports, by their nature are risky but the risks to the eyes is often overlooked and eye protection an afterthought. Many practitioners of extreme and elite sports consider trendy sunglasses as the only sport eyewear required to pursue their passion but we say proper eye protection is not only essential for your health and safety, it increases performance and enjoyment of the sport too. In extreme sports the consequence of sudden sight impairment could be much higher than in traditional sports played on a court or field. In extreme pursuits, your life could be at risk. Consider the following scenario -
A freeclimber is 2,500ft up El Capitan, with 500ft still to climb sharp grit is blown into their eyes. Rubbing may drive the razor-sharp granite shards deeper and the climbers hands are laden with chalk and needed to keep the climber attached to their hold.
The most common eye injuries in rock climbing are corneal abrasions (grit blown or kicked up into the eye), blunt force trauma (falling objects) and penetration (sharp objects/tools) - none of which you want to experience half a mile up the sheer face of a mountain, or at all.
Even a minor ingress of dust, dirt or climbing chalk to the eye could irritate, distract from the task at hand and lessen the sense of achievement from completing the climb. After all said and done, do you really want to add risk to an already risky situation?
The protection offered by something like this would stop 100% of wind-borne grit from entering the eyes, prevent injury from all but the most determined sharp tool or falling rock and give the ultimate UV protection to the climber. For low-light conditions, these bad boys are sport eyewear done correctly.
The idea that clear, unimpeded sight is your best protection and the most effective way to increase performance applies to every sport. Cycling glasses (including for mountain biking), shooting glasses and spoggles for everything from hang gliding to bungee jumping or base jumping in a wingsuit are all big business. Seeing clearly while protecting your eyes through the adrenaline rush is extremely valuable
Don’t forget Sports Glasses for Kids
The National Eye Institute are concerned about the impact of sport-related eye injuries, particularly in children. The takeaway points from a recent article of theirs are:
● Injury to the eye is the leading cause of blindness in American children
● Most injuries to the eyes of children in the US are sport-related
● Annual medical cost is an estimated $175million
● 90% of the sport-related injury to kids in America could have been avoided with protective eyewear
Parents, teachers and sports coaches of children are quickly coming round to the realisation that we have to start using eye protection. Sport glasses for kids should be a regular part of any kit and children encouraged to use them. This guide for parents and teachers produced by the NEI is worth a read.
The good news is eye protection in sport is becoming mainstream with fears over looking a bit silly, particularly amongst children, quickly becoming a thing of the past. This is due in part to how fashionable sports eyewear is becoming. See here for an example of ultimate protective style.
Comfort - The ingredient often missing from the sports glasses on the market
Comfort is the factor in safety glasses that determines how usable they are. You do have to choose lenses suitable for your sport in terms of all the usual factors - impact resistance, shatterproof, UV protection and so on - but, all the benefits of having sport eyewear disappear if the player takes them off as they are niggling, chafing or pinching. Being too loose is distracting and could mean the loss of the glasses mid activity, too tight can be painful and divert attention away from the game
Discomfort in sight is also a factor, fogging up restricts sight and it can start to feel like your eyes have entered a sauna. Fashionable domed or angled lenses can distort perspective. There are many reasons why you may want to risk taking off your sport glasses during a game but with the correct eyewear you won’t have to or want to.
Take a look at these as a clear lens option, yellow lens and sunglass versions also available.
The secret is the foam padding. It forms a seal strong enough to keep out wind, rain, brow sweat, road grit, mountain dust and just about everything else from entering your eyes. The foam is breathable however so, along with an anti-fog coating on the lens, your eyes will not only stay protected but remain at optimum heat and humidity levels with zero sight impairment.
The foam also spreads the pressure of the Spoggle on your face. Whereas some options available on the market rely on friction grip to the temples and nose bridge, the ToolFreak Spoggle nestles to the facial contours and feels like a custom fit due the material properties of the foam.
Users in industry report that they often forget they are wearing them (review on YouTube of our Rip-Out lenses), even after several hours and even when using the optional head strap that creates a much firmer seal to the face.
Thanks for reading.
See you soon!