Insights: Andrew Karp


Delivering a Safety Sermon


Delivering a Safety Sermon

I don't have much patience for proselytizers. I tend to tune out anyone who sanctimoniously preaches about politics, religion, philosophy or any other topic.

So why am I getting up on a soapbox now? The reason is I’d like to call attention to a topic that can make a real difference in people’s lives, especially children. I’m referring to the under-recognized need for eye protection for athletes, both amateur and professional. As Dr. Paul Berman asserts in this month’s Lens Choices feature, “Pro-Active: Meeting the Challenge of Protecting Kids’ Eyes,” many people are at risk for serious eye injury while playing sports because their eyes are not sufficiently protected.

I became a believer in the importance of wearing protective eyewear for sports when a colleague came to work one day with a nasty gash across the bridge of his nose. It seems he was playing softball and slammed into an infielder while trying to steal second base. The impact snapped a nosepad off the sunglasses he was wearing, which were designed for streetwear, and the exposed metal arm cut him right at eye level. While the wound wasn’t serious, it could easily have been, since the nosepad arm was only a few millimeters from his eye.

My friend wisely took this as a warning and purchased a pair of prescription sports goggles. Fortunately, he was wearing them the day he was playing basketball and got hit in the face with the ball. Although the impact knocked him down, his eyes were protected and he got up and continued playing. Many readers may already be promoting the use of sports protective eyewear to their athletic patients. But what about the occasional athlete who takes part in a casual pick-up game or tosses a ball around the backyard with their kids? Are they getting the message too? If there’s any doubt, it may be time for you to get up on a soapbox and deliver your own safety sermon.

Andrew Karp,