Mar 30, 2011
Tennis season is in full gear and it's a good time to remind you about the importance of proper eye protection. With three girls playing competitive tennis in our family, balls are flying around constantly and I know that it is just a matter of time before someone gets a serious eye injury. It very well might be me since I'm the one always picking up balls out on our court. I have seen it firsthand, already. An ophthalmologist I know very well, nearly lost one eye from a serious retinal detachment from a tennis ball injury. One of our coaches at the tennis club, lost all the central vision in one eye and another had a bad retinal detachment, again from a serious tennis ball injuries.
Tennis balls can come at you at over 100 mph and can cause a tremendous amount of damage at impact. At tennis clubs, balls can fly over from the next court or from your court when you're not paying attention. Even a slow moving ball that your friend bounces to you can cause a corneal abrasion putting you out of commission for several days.
My best advice is to wear a nice pair of sunglasses that are specifically made for tennis. Bolle and Oakley are two excellent examples. The lens are made of polycarbonate material which is virtually shatterproof. It is essential that you get a pair that is ANSI (American National Standards Institute) approved for proper impact protection.
One final note, these sunglasses will usually offer excellent UV protection for your eyes and eyelids as well. Down the road, this could help reduce progression of cataracts and macular degeneration. In addition, skin cancers are quite common on the lower eyelids especially. This area of the face is absolutely bombarded with UV sunglight when outdoors and there is a reason why athletes wear eye black paint there to reduce the reflections off the skin. Proper sunglasses will greatly reduce the amount of sun damage for the eyelids and should reduce skin cancers down the road.
I just got back from the Sony Ericsson Tennis Open in Miami where I wathched Federer, Nadal and Sharipova practice and play. None of them wear sunglasses on the court (but always wear them when styling around town.)Stay tuned, for my next blog which will discuss why professional tennis players hardlly ever wear sunglasse. Elite players are so quick, they could probably deflect flying bullets, but if they wore sunglasses, they would encourage the average club to protect his or her eyes.