Impact damage to the upper bridge of nose from impact with the ball.
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We hope you will find this information useful . . .
With Health & Safety becoming an increasingly important factor in many youth sports, football is certainly no exception. Although not strictly a full contact sport, there are still plenty of instances when young players will come into contact with one another as well as the ball . . .
With a growing proportion of children and young adults now wearing glasses, there's a high probability that one or more of the team is a regular glasses wearer. So what are the risks?
Cheek bone damage from impact with the ball
Damage to frame or loss of lenses resulting in wearer being unable to see or continue playing
Damage to the ears from impact with the ball
Do some frames offer less protection than others?
There are two main types of frames - metal and plastic. Metal frames normally have small metal supports with pads that rest on the nose. These can present a higher risk to the nose than a plastic frame where the bridge is shaped like a saddle, providing more support over a larger area.
What about lenses?
There are two main types of material used to make lenses - glass and resin. Glass lenses are not allowed to be fitted in glasses for under 16's due to the risk of shattering and they are certainly not suitable for sport, at any age.
Resin lenses come in several types with standard and thin materials offering basic mild impact protection. Polycarbonate is the lens of choice for sport as it offers superior high impact protection.
Eyewear options . . .
The most obvious solution for a young glasses wearer is a specialist sports protective frame. This can become mandatory once a player reaches a certain league level.
High impact polycarbonate frame with no metal parts or screws
Rubber impact resistant saddle bridge provides support and improved protection
Clip together parts designed to resist impact damage
Temple support provides protection from side impacts
Removable elastic head strap keeps glasses in place
Soft rubberised end tips support and protect the ears
Ventilation port reduces steaming up
What about Contact Lenses?
Contact lenses can be a great solution as they avoid the need to worry about impact protection from glasses. They also provide a wider, more natural field of vision.
However, below a certain age most Opticians are unwilling to consider contact lenses because the eyes are still developing and many young players may not have the maturity to cope with the insertion, removal and aftercare of lenses. Opticians will therefore generally access the maturity of a potential wearer as well as clinical suitability.
The earliest age to fit contact lenses is normally around 12 to 13 years. Daily disposable lenses will usually be recommended as they can be worn and then discarded after the match. Potential wearers will need to first have a regular NHS sight test and then an initial fitting appointment, followed by several follow-up visits.
A successful wearer will quite quickly be able to insert their lenses before the match with little or no supervision, although it's wise for clubs to know which of your young players are wearing contact lenses.
Options . . .
Many of the available protective sports frames come in a variety of colours and sizes with additional options such as head straps, head harnesses, team decals or player numbering.
Most frames are supplied with high-impact polycarbonate prescription lenses.
Funding lenses . . .
The NHS do not generally cover the fees and charges for contact lenses so both the initial fitting appointments and subsequent lens supplies will need to be paid for by a parent of guardian.
The initial fitting fees can range from £40 to around £90, depending on the Optician. Some practices offer introductory offers for new wearers but be aware of free offers as these don't always cover a full range of lens options.
Daily disposable lenses are normally supplied in packs of 30 pairs and start from around £18.
Some Opticians also offer membership programmes with monthly direct debits that cover the cost of lenses and future aftercare visits.
Your next move . . .
If you are a parent of or a club who has young players that regularly wear glasses, feel free to share this page with others.
If you are based in South West Devon, South East Cornwall or Plymouth then feel free to pop into one of our practices for a chat.
We hope you have found this information useful. We welcome any feedback . . .
Eyewear information for youth football clubs and parents
The information contained on this page is intended as a free-to-view guide and not as marketing.
For more information please speak to your local Optician.
Glasses or no glasses?
Some young players may feel that wearing glasses is either frowned upon by the club or has an adverse effect on their abilities. The only way to know if glasses are essential is to ask the Optician - "Can I play football without my glasses?"
Some models come with a full sized elasticated head strap to keep the glasses firmly in place.