NEW YORK—After a year and a half that saw most of us spending more time indoors than usual, summer 2021 is shaping up to be a season for getting active and getting outside. This summer is chock-full of big-deal sporting events—the Euros, the Tour de France, Wimbledon, the All-Star game and, of course, the Olympics, which are looming just over the horizon. 

There are few things more uniting (and sometimes divisive, to be fair) than sports. Even if you’re not a big sports fan, or if you don’t play yourself, there really is something special about getting hyped up for the Olympics or other big tournaments, and seeing the best athletes in the world give their all for something so important to them. It’s inspiring—and, for many, it’s enough to make them want to pick up a sport themselves.

In general, it’s great news when major sporting events inspire non-athletes to get involved with sports themselves, even if it’s just for a little while—we all know the benefits of adding more activity to our daily lives. But increased activity comes with increased risk as well, including for the eyes.

In a 2016 report on youth sports injuries, which VM reported on in 2019, The New York Times wrote “Eye injuries in sports, especially youth sports, are worryingly common and often involve activities that most of us probably would not consider risky for eyes, according to a new, nationwide study of emergency room visits related to eye problems among athlete. The results suggest that anyone involved with youth sports should be vigilant about protecting young people’s eyes, perhaps in part by stocking up on wraparound glasses.”

In 2017, Prevent Blindness reported more than 3,000 Americans treated for sports-related eye injuries, too.

The International Sports Vision Association (ISVA) is dedicated to advancing vision training for athletes of all ages and levels, both to protect their vision and help them achieve peak atheltic performance. On its website, the ISVA offers a variety of resources both for athletes and ECPs, including eye exercises and information about nutrition for athletes, and a free presentation about prescribing and selling sports eyewear in your practice for ECPs. 

Athletes both professional and newcomers should always take proper precaution and look out for their eyes, and there is a chance here for ECPs to get involved, too, even those who aren't sports vision experts. By the sheer numbers of sports-related eye injuries seen each year, it seems clear that people don’t tend to think about protecting their eyes while getting active—so it’s up to the optical community to remind them. Talking to patients about what sports they watch and play when they come into the office is a great way to do this, but it’s also worth jumping on the moment now, and proactively reaching patients on social media—which they just might be scrolling in between catching Olympic matches, or soccer games.

This weekend, we’re taking a look at how some ECPs are using this moment to remind patients and followers just how important eye safety is. Adapt some ideas for yourself, and then catch the game.

The team at Carey Optical in Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada, specifically chose to focus on how important protective sports eyewear is for children. Image via careyoptical on Instagram.

In Kenosha, Wisconsin, the team at Savaglio Family Vision also reminded patients of how important eye protection is when it comes to sports, and showcased their Wiley X collection to show patients a few ways they can stay protected. Image via savagliofamilyvision on Instagram.

AvivaMann Optical Group, the Australian distributor for Centro Style, Nano Vista, Cocoons Eyewear, Slastik Optical & Progear, mentioned the NBA playoffs, Euro 2020, Wimbledon and the Tour De France, and spotlighted their brands that help athletes keep their eyes protected. Image via avivamannoptical on Instagram.

Old Town Optique, located in Columbus, Georgia, kicked off the summer with a reminder that they stock sports goggles, and showed off a few of their offerings on Instagram. Image via oldtownoptique on Instagram.

Oakley protects the eyes of countless athletes—including WNBA player Diamond DeShields, who wears protective Oakley eyewear while playing for the Chicago Sky. Image via Oakley on Instagram.

Meanwhile at the Tour de France, Bollé outfitted a number of riders with its brand new Volt+, its first-ever AI-developed sunglass lens. French cyclist Cyril Lemoine wears Bollé here. Image via bolle_eyewear on Instagram.

Even in the midst of summer, with the Summer Games looming, Spyder is looking toward the Winter Olympics in 2022—a perfect idea for those in colder climates, or just those who prefer the Winter Games. Spyder is the official supplier of the U.S. ski team. Image via spyderactive on Instagram.