When players turn 19, it is common for them to stop wearing eye wear in the senior ranks. The main reasons for not wearing protective eye wear is the perception that it is unnecessary, it restricts vision and is too uncomfortable. Goggles can fog up due to body heat and perspiration, requiring players to wipe and clean the glasses. This causes breaks in play and concentration which a lot of people consider a huge disadvantage. As this occurs frequently during a match, compared to eye injuries, it becomes preferable to leave the eye protection off.
There is a common misconception that only novice players receive eye injuries. This is not the case with several elite players having been injured in recent years. However, players with less skill are at greater risk.
Worldwide, racket sports are the number one reason for eye injuries. The risk of soft-tissue injuries to the eye and head region in squash are high, courtesy of wayward rackets and balls from either less experienced players or carelessness. Even a minor eye injury can cause retinal detachment and legal blindness. Bleeding within the eye may cause glaucoma years later. Orbital fractures are also possible. In New Zealand these types of injuries are possible - but are fairly uncommon.
The good news is that these can be prevented with appropriate protective eye wear and education. If you are looking to wear eye wear on court, there are some that won’t steam up, are reasonably comfortable and your vision will quickly adapt. Whilst the view out of the glasses may not be as good as without, you will still have the issue of sweat running on your forehead – nothing a headband or wrist band won’t fix.
In New Zealand, wearing protective eye wear is compulsory for all juniors (under 19 years) competing in Squash New Zealand national junior events. The same applies for all players competing in doubles events.
Remember, eye protection is there for the unexpected situations which only needs to happen once in your playing career.