Sports eye protection

Sports-related eye injuries are common. The risks of sports-related eye injuries depend onthe type of sporting activities. The following table highlights the sports that are considered moderate or high risk for eye injuries.

High risk

Small fast projectiles

  • Air rifle
  • BB gun
  • Paintball

Hard projectiles, sticks, close contact:

  • Basketball
  • Baseball/softball
  • Cricket
  • Lacrosse
  • Hockey
  • Squash
  • Racquetball
  • Fencing

Intentional injury

  • Boxing
  • Full contact martial arts

Moderate risk

  • Tennis
  • Badminton
  • Football
  • Volleyball
  • Water polo
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Rugby

Low risk

  • Swimming
  • Diving
  • Skiing
  • Non-contact martial arts
  • Cycling
  • Wrestling

Eye safe

  • Track and field
  • Gymnastics

Appropriate eye protectors reduce the risk of significant eye injury by 90% when properly fitted. When engaging in sporting activities with moderate or high risk for eye injuries, eye protection is important. In addition, eye protection is important if you have previously suffered eye injuries, if you have previously undergone eye operations or if you have sight in only one eye.

There are a large variety of eye protectors available and they should be tailored to the individual sport or preference. The ideal requirements for protective eyewear are:

  • They must be correctly fitted (especially important in children)
  • They must be shatter resistant (polycarbonate material for lens)
  • They must have a sturdy frame with or without cushioning
  • They should not affect your field of vision when engaging in the sport
  • They must be cosmetically acceptable


Author: Miss. Melanie Hingorani; A&E Service

Review date: June 2026