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As spring swings into gear, play it safe with your eyes

By Judith Whitehead – Contributing Writer

Now that our spring weather is finally here, we are also beginning National Eye Safety Month.

Once again, Little League practices, bike riding and many other outdoor sports are beginning. Along with protecting heads with helmets, we must also remember to protect our eyes with goggles, safety specs called rec specs, and glasses that will not shatter.

This is the time of year when we always see a handful of children – and even adults – who don't protect their eyes. Baseballs, racket balls, tennis balls, darts and more can cause irreparable damage to eyes.

Luckily, we are blessed with having a bony structure surrounding our eyes called the orbit, that does lend itself to some natural protection but depending on the size and force of the object, even that bone can be broken.

A penetrating injury can cause permanent damage to the eye and a lifetime of problems with treatments and surgery. Anyone can purchase safety specs at an optician and a corrective prescription can be placed in the lenses of the glasses.

Proper eyewear worn outdoors is key, Judith Whitehead says.

Swim goggles not only protect the eyes from chemicals in the pool but also from objects.

Don't forget to check if your sun specs have UV protection in them; not all specs do. A simple test performed on your glasses at the optician will tell you how much protection is in the pair of glasses you have. Ultraviolet light can cause such conditions as macular degeneration and cataracts, depending on how much exposure you get. People who have had cataract surgery and have implant lenses that restored the vision have a built in UV protection in the implant lens.

Play safe and practice safety. A little inconvenience now will prevent vision loss for the rest of your life.

Judith Whitehead, of East Amherst, is a certified ophthalmic technician.


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