Refraction, Correction & Protection

As primary eye care physicians, doctors of optometry can help patients protect their eyes and address vision impairments that affect their safety and performance while engaged in sports. As more patients and the public understand our role in their eye safety, health and performance, more athletes of all ages will seek out our services.

"Estimates suggest that between 40,000 and 600,000 documented sports-related eye injuries occur in the United States every year"... and... "implementing policies that better encourage the use of protective eyewear could reduce work- and sports-related eye injuries by as much as 90 percent"

NASAM P. 90 & P. 25, respectively).

Many, if not most, sports-related eye injuries are preventable. Unfortunately, many patients and athletes are unaware of the risk associated with their physical activities and how to properly protect their eyes.

Although athletes understand the need for sports equipment, sports shoes and sports clothing, many do not understand that sports-safe eyewear is no different. "Dress glasses" are not meant for sports and can be broken, or worse, provide no protection against trauma. Improper eye wear and use can lead to decreased performance and vision, as well as increased chances of accidents. Athletes who do not properly address vision impairments will not perform adequately, and in many cases, will not be able to safely participate in sports.

Therefore, education is key!

As primary eye care physicians, it is optometry's role to help patients and athletes understand the need to protect their eyes and ensure optimal vision while participating in sports.


The AOA's Sports & Performance Vision Committee (SPVC) and Advocacy Network (SPVAN) are committed to ensuring:

  • The public, policymakers, and other professions understand that ALL athletes should be referred to and regularly visit a doctor of optometry to address their refraction, correction, & protection needs
  • Local, state, and federal policies promote or require sports safe eyewear by athletes of all ages and levels
  • Doctors of optometry understand how to identify patient athletes, address their refraction, correction, and protections needs, and refer patients to an SPV specialist if necessary.


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