Faced with this risk, wearing protective glasses is the most effective solution, and their mandatory use must be considered.
Eye injuries suffered by padel practitioners are increasingly more common.
It is not unusual, due to the speed with which padel is played, for players to accidentally get hit by a ball.
And, out of all of the parts of the body, the eyes are probably the most vulnerable.
The nature of padel increases the danger
Why might padel be more harmful to our eyes than any other sport?
One reason is the size of the ball.
Since it’s not very large, it could strike the eye if the orbital bones are not protected, increasing the chances that the blow will result in significant injury.
Of course, you also have to take into account the nature of the sport.
The fact that there are 4 players, who, in many cases, are positioned very close to each other on the court, means that a player has to stay alert in order to avoid any type of mishap.
What’s more, balls rebounding off the wall as well as striking power are additional risk factors for the eyes, since this is one of the most sensitive areas on the face.
Possible effects of a blow to the eye
The consequences of a such a blow can vary.
The most common is sand from the court entering the eye, which produces an uncomfortable sensation when blinking but, in theory, poses no threat of serious eye injury.
In a situation like this, it would be a good idea to rinse the cornea with water in an attempt to completely remove the sand that entered.
Besides that, a blow from a ball can cause more serious damage, such as corneal erosion.
The cornea is the transparent layer of the eye, and even the slightest touch from a ball carries with it the risk of injuring this area.
The pain is usually intense, causing momentary vision loss.
On the other hand, if the ball directly hits the eye with great force, the collision can result in vitreous or retinal detachment.
In this case, it’s important to keep an eye out for the permanent aftereffects that may occur, making a trip to the emergency room for a comprehensive review imperative.
Protective glasses: the most practical solution
Given the situation, it seems clear that the use of protective glasses is the best remedy. However, amongst both professional players and amateurs, their use hasn’t been fully normalised because, amongst other reasons, they don’t permit a crystal clear view of what’s happening on the court or because they can fog up at key moments of the game.
However, far from being a mere suggestion, to many specialists, protective glasses are essential to practising padel safely.
The possibility of making them compulsory has even been put on the table, considering that the number of surgeries and injuries that can cause blindness is relentlessly climbing.
The data gathered by the experts is irrefutable. According to an article published in the Journal of the Swedish Medical Association, wearing protective glasses reduces the risk of eye injury by 90%.
Rackets, another potential danger
The eyes are not only susceptible to being hit by a ball. Rackets are also potentially harmful objects.
The small size of the court, as well as the constant proximity to one’s doubles partner, contributes to the fact that padel rackets can pose a threat to the face in general and the eyes in particular.
Should protective glasses be compulsory?
This situation has encouraged the world of padel to ask a question: if they play such an important and effective role, why aren’t glasses already compulsory?
The danger referred to here doesn’t only occur in isolation but rather at practically every moment of the match.
Just as specific footwear and clothing are recommended for padel, protective glasses could become another piece in a player’s kit.
Despite the risk they face, the majority of players, including many professionals, choose not to use them.
This demonstrates that, at the moment, they are not considered a standard item.
Most notably, we aren’t talking about the minor or insignificant consequences, but rather negative effects that can stay with someone for the rest of his or her life.
For now, protective glasses are the best way to prevent these injuries. Therefore, making them compulsory equipment should be, at the very least, taken into consideration.