PBA and Others Continue 'September is Sports Eye Injury Prevention Awareness Month' Campaign

CHICAGO and FAIRFIELD, NJ— Prevent Blindness America (PBA), in partnership with Liberty Sport and The Coalition to Prevent Sports Eye Injuries,  continues to raise awareness for the designation of September 2012 as Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month. The three organizations are working together to provide ECPs and consumers with free information throughout the month to promote keeping eyes healthy and safe by wearing proper eye protection while playing sports.

The campaign aligns with the back-to-school season, a time when, according to Paul Berman, OD, FAAO, chairman for The Coalition to Prevent Sports Eye Injuries, many students will be joining sports teams. “More than half of all children participate in organized sports, but most youth sports leagues do not require the use of proper eye protection,” Berman said. “Through this partnership, it is our goal to educate parents and coaches on the importance of requiring kids to use sports eye safety wear during practice and during the game.”

After gaining approximately 5,000 retailer supporters two years ago, the three organizations aim to reach a total 7,500 this year, for whom they will provide an information kit that will convert offices into Sports Eye Injury Prevention Centers. In addition to helping decrease vision loss, retailers who utilized the materials, such as counter cards, posters and e-blasts, saw an average of a 150 percent increase in office sales, Berman said.

According to the National Eye Institute, eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in the US, and most of these injuries are sports-related. From corneal abrasions to detached retinas, the number of eye injuries that can occur during sports play is abundant—but they are also preventable. To avoid injury and possible vision loss, PBA recommends wearing protective sports eyewear fitted bye an eyecare professional, padding eye protectors along the brow and bridge of the nose, and making sure sports eyewear has 100 percent UV protection.

“Our healthy eyesight is something that we can sometimes take for granted. But, in an instant, a severe eye injury can have life changing results,” said PBA president and CEO, Hugh R. Parry. “By consistently wearing the right eye protection while playing sports, we can help to eliminate vision loss and permanent blindness in children and adults.”

For more information on sports eye injury prevention and information on sport-specific eye protection recommendations, call Prevent Blindness America at (800) 331-2020, or visit preventblindness.org/sports-eye-safety.