Dr. Varney says ‘protect your eyes’

Amanda Jo Lawson

Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) recognizes April as Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month.


Sports-related eye injuries can be avoided by wearing proper eye safety equipment.


“Eye protection is important in a lot of sports,” PMC Sports Medicine Physician Dr. Jamie Varney said. “Eyesight is something people take for granted until something happens,” said Dr. Varney.


Dr. Varney stressed the vulnerability of the eye.


“It can change your life forever. Everyone who plays any racquet sports like racquetball or tennis should always wear protective eyewear,” Dr. Varney said.


According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, tens of thousands of sports and recreation-related eye injuries occur each year. Ninety percent of serious eye injuries are preventable through use of appropriate protective eyewear.


The risk of eye injury can vary depending on the activity.


“Regular glasses or sunglasses do not provide protection,” Dr. Varney said. “You need to wear break resistant polycarbonate sports lenses or goggles. It is also important in all sports to wear protection if you already have any eye problems that could worsen if injured.”


Some helpful eye safety tips are:


•Wear proper safety goggles (lensed polycarbonate protectors) for racquet sports or basketball.


In order to be assured that your eyes are protected, it is important that any eye guard or sports protective eyewear are labeled as ASTM F803 approved. This eyewear is performance tested to give you the highest levels of protection.


• Use batting helmets with polycarbonate face shields for youth baseball.


• Use helmets and face shields approved by the U.S. Amateur Hockey Association when playing hockey.


• Know that regular glasses don’t provide enough protection.


To learn more about sports medicine, call 606-218-2206.