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Why Eyewear in Pickleball is Quickly Gaining Momentum

by The Dink Media Team on

The rise in pickleball popularity is undeniable, with participation growing faster than any other sport in America.

With that increased participation comes an uptick in many factors, from court expansion to injuries. There are the typical (and predictable) knee, back and shoulder/elbow maladies, but one area that is quickly becoming a hot topic in the sport is eye protection.

RIA Eyewear, Pickleball

More and more eye injuries are cropping up in the sport, due largely to the proximity of players on the court, the speed that the ball can travel at a competitor and compromised reaction time and eyesight for some of the older demographic enjoying their new passion.

The Dink recently surveyed its audience to get a better understanding about how much recreational players have thought about wearing protective eyewear in the future.

Do you wear eye protection when playing pickleball?

Of the over 10,000 responses, almost 62 percent said they already wear protective eyewear. Roughly 11 percent admitted they'll likely never consider wearing eye protection.

"As you can imagine, many of the eye injuries we see may require surgery depending on the severity," Andrew G. Lee, MD, of Baylor College of Medicine and Houston Methodist Hospital told MedPage Today.

According to Lee, here are some of the more common injuries as a result of pickleball injuries related to eyesight:

  • Using sutures to repair eyelid and brow lacerations
  • Dislocation of the natural lens, often requiring a new lens and cataract extraction
  • Damage to the pupil, resulting in the need to suture the pupil smaller
  • Replacing a damaged iris with an artificial iris
  • Retinal detachment, leading to retinal surgery
  • Total loss of an eye, requiring surgical removal

Some of the game's top professionals are also on board with the eyewear movement. Both Mary and Maggie Brascia sport RIA Eyewear on the court.

"Maggie and I firmly believe that everyone needs to wear protective eyewear because the game is speeding up. The paddles are getting faster and everything is so quick. You need to have eye protection because the hands battles are just too fast," Mary said. "We have seen it happen with our friends getting ricocheted pickleballs into the eye. It's dangerous, and we don’t want anyone getting hurt."

Erik Lange
Erik Lange is on RIA Eyewear's pro team.

Anna Leigh Waters, the most dominant woman in the sport, is known for her trademark shades, but she admits they serve more than one purpose while she's competing on the court.

Whether you're a teenager just getting into the sport or a grandparent enjoying your retirement years playing competitively in your community, everyone needs their eyesight. The ability to see clearly is one of the biggest challenges many seniors face on and off the court, which ultimately impairs judgement and reaction time.

It seems the movement is picking up steam as more eye injuries creep up in our sport. Why risk something so vital to everyday life because you either don't like how a pair of glasses make you look or feel on the court?

Other racquet sports have adopted this movement (racquetball, squash) and it appears pickleball is next.

Want to learn more about pickleball eyewear? Visit our partners at RIA Eyewear, the preferred eyewear brand in pickleball and the official eyewear of USA Pickleball.

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