Prevent Blindness America Joined in Designating September Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month

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CHICAGO and FAIRFIELD, N.J.  – As the school year begins, Prevent Blindness America (PBA) is once again calling attention to sports eye injuries by designating September as Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month. The annual observance aims to educate the public on the preventable injuries occurring as a result of sports each year, as well as the best ways to keep eyes safe while engaging in athletic activities.

According to a new PBA report, there were more than 13,000 eye injuries sustained by children ages 0-14 in calendar year 2012. The data draws particular attention to basketball and water sports as the leading causes of sports-related eye injuries. The use of guns, including air, gas, spring and BB caused the most eye injuries in children ages 14 and younger. The report also stated that 90 percent of all eye injuries are preventable through proper eye protection.

As part of the initiative, the PBA has joined with The Coalition to Prevent Sports Eye Injuries and Liberty Sport to launch the “September is Sports Eye Injury Prevention Awareness Month” campaign, through which the organizations are providing eyecare professionals and sports eye injury prevention centers with free kits containing in-office support, like counter cards and posters, and consumer outreach materials, such as a media disc containing e-blast materials, to promote eye injury prevention.

“After working with Liberty Sport to convert eyecare professional offices to sports eye injury prevention centers over the past four years, we are pleased by the results of their internal studies showing that by instituting the steps of the SEIPC, their office sales have increased an average of 150 percent, while also leading to a greater decrease in this tragic loss of the priceless gift of sight,” said Paul Berman, OD, FAAO and chairman for The Coalition to Prevent Sports Eye Injuries.

Since the campaign’s origin in 2010, 5,000 providers of sports protective eyewear have participated in the campaign. As stated by Liberty Sport CEO Anthony M. DiChiara, “This year, our target is to add an additional 2,500 providers for a total of 7,500 accounts supporting the September month campaign.”

For more information on sports eye injury prevention and information on sport-specific eye protection recommendations, please call Prevent Blindness America at (800) 331-2020, or visit preventblindness.org/sports-eye-safety. For more information about Sports Eye Injury Prevention Awareness Month or to request a kit, please contact John Minnick, Liberty Sport at 973-882-0986, ext. 977 or jminnick@libertysport.com.