Two years ago, Carter Nattrass was hit in the eye with a baseball. I like fell down and it was pretty scary. I couldn’t look out of it because it was so swelled up. My first reaction as any parent is boy, you’ve got a really good shiner there. Just going back to my childhood lots of us had black eyes so we didn’t think anything of it. Unfortunately the damage was more severe than anyone initially thought. Since the accident, Carter has endured 7 surgeries on his right eye, to repair a detached retina and cataract. And during some of the recovery, he had to lay immobilized for days at a time. You OK like that? Yes. While this may seem like a fluke, Sunnybrook’s Head of Ophthalmology Dr. Peter Kertes says, sports related eye injuries are more common than people realize. I don’t think we can ever emphasize enough the importance of eye protection in sports, even in sports where we don’t think the eye as being particularly vulnerable. That includes sports like soccer, basketball, badminton and baseball. Pokes in the eye or blunt trauma can cause bruising, retinal detachment, bleeding all of which can lead to blindness in severe cases. Blunt trauma also raises the risk of developing a number of eye diseases, such as glaucoma over time. Thankfully, safety glasses can offer significant protection. Available at some sports and optical stores they can even be fitted with a prescription. They don’t have to be goofy looking. There are lots of safety glasses that are cool looking. It’s all about the material the lens is made of. He recommends buying a polycarbonate lens which can withstand a hard blow without shattering. Some varieties even have rubber backing to offer further comfort and protection. Much like helmets are mandated in hockey, Dr. Kertes would like to see the same happen for safety glasses in other sports. So would Carter. Some of these injuries, they happen in an instant. And we live with the damages for life. They are so easily preventable, it’s always a tragedy to see somebody with a significant eye injury from a totally preventable accident. I don’t think they realize how important it is, and they just think it happened to one kid so it won’t happen to them. So I think they should be more careful. Brett says awareness about the importance of eye protection in sports needs to happen on many levels: kids, parents, schools and sports associations. If it’s not your child right now, it won’t happen. It’s the old, it’s somebody else it will happen to, not me. But when it’s your child, it’s probably a good idea. With Sunnyview, I’m Monica Matys.