Safety at first sight

Early eye protection can prevent potential damage during later years and improve sports performance.


Fiona Mittelstaedt

Senior Isabelle Coolins sports her protective eyewear while putting during practice at the Presidio Golf Course. Coolins purchased her glasses at LensCrafters.

Fiona Mittelstaedt, Senior Reporter

Although it is common to see athletes in high contact sports wearing protective eyewear, everyone who plays outside should consider investing in a good pair of glasses or goggles.  

“We know that most of the ultraviolet light damage that is consistent with eye disease later on in life happens prior to 18 years of age,” optometrist Elio Polsinelli said. “It is really important to protect your eyes prior to 18, especially when the UV light can hit the retina easier than when you are older.”

Even on foggy or cloudy days, it is best to wear eye protection because UV light still comes through and can damage eyes, according to Polsinelli.

“Sometimes it gets pretty sunny on the golf course, so I don’t want to wear glasses,” senior Isabella Coolins said. “If I wear my sunglasses with my prescription in them, it is easier to see where the ball goes.”

Sunglasses also shield eyes against dust, pollen and dirt that might get into the eyes while playing sports.

“I’ve always joked that we should get goggles for the cross-country team,” junior Katie Newbold said. “It would look ugly, but they would do the job. Sometimes running into the sun is a pain, or running on Crissy Field there is a part that is really sandy, and so dust gets in your eyes– which is a bummer.”

Even though some say goggles are not the most fashionable look, eye protection is an important part of eye care.

“If you are outdoors, a pair of sunglasses are worth their weight in gold,” Polsinelli said. “Get something you like that is stylish, and it will prevent disease later on in life in your 60s, 70s and 80s.”

Sports players have a few option for eye protection and wear, including contacts and  primary recreational glasses made with shatter resistant material, according to Polsinelli.  

“For volleyball and basketball you are suppose to wear goggles so they are close to your head so if somebody runs into you, you can’t break your nose, injury your temple or the side of your head,” Associate Athletic Director Cody Lee Fusco said.

For high contact sports it is especially important to think of your safety and the players around you.

“I know a lot of other girls my age who wear glasses either wear contacts or sport goggles. Which pretty much secure the glass to your head so no one’s hands can get caught inside the glasses while you’re playing the sport.” Moslander said.