According to the National Society to Prevent Blindness, almost 7,000 injuries were found to be related to playing basketball. This only represents the injuries that were reported, so the number can be even more than that. Typically, the injury is sustained from a finger poking the eye. Injuries can be prevented through the use of sport goggles. These goggles not only provide protection from injury, but can also be fit with your prescription in them. Even if you need a slight vision correction, it will help you see the ball one second sooner, or help your aim by a fraction of an inch. Look for the following when selecting the right type of goggle:
- Polycarbonate Lenses: This is the most important property of all protective goggles. Good polycarb is virtually unbreakable, and will sustain the impact of a ball or finger.
- Durable Frame Design: The frame must also be able to withstand the impact of a ball or finger. Therefore, a frame made out of polycarbon is the the best choice. Shields are becoming more popular for this sport, however, do not offer the best protection. (see coverage below).
- Coverage: The frame must cover the entire eye socket, not only the eyeball itself. Impact to any of the "soft" parts of the eye can cause serious damage. Look for a frame that sits closely to the face, as a finger can easily make its way through any gap. Shields can easily become dislodged so a finger can penetrate underneath. Be careful if choosing this option.
- Padding: The frame should have padding at the temple points and bridge points to "cushion the blow". Padding will absorb some of the shock to lessen the overall impact, and to assure the frame itself does not cause damage to the facial structures.
- Sports Band: The frame should be secured by an elasticized band, not temple pieces. You want something that will be secured tight to the head so that it won't fall off. A frame with temples will not hold tight enough, and a jab from a finger could lift the frame off, and make its way to the eye.
- Lens Color: A clear lens provides the best visual acuity indoors. An anti-reflective coating can also be placed on the lens to absorb additional glare off the indoor lighting. A regular lens reflects 8% of incidental light, while an anti-reflective coating applied to the lens will allow 99% of the light to pass through the lens, giving the best visual acuity. A yellow lens can also be used to cut the glare of overhead lighting. However, the lens color will reduce visual acuity slowing down reaction times.
- Prescription Lenses: A goggle gives the widest field of view for the athlete. Shield must be fit with a prescription insert that fits behind the lens, and therefore, limits the periphery a little.