in the UK have for many years been aware of the steady trickle of severe
eye injuries in sport, and (especially in racket sports) have been frustrated
by the inability to make firm recommendations on eye protection to those
patients who should use it. Whilst players of racket sports should use
eye protection routinely, some ophthalmic patients are at special risk.
These include the one-eyed and those with low acuity or significant field
loss (which increase the risk of injury) and those with pre-existing conditions
which exacerbate the severity of an injury should it occur (such as high
myopia, previous intraocular or corneal refractive surgery or predisposing
for the first time, a British Standard for eye protection in squash has
been published (BS 7930:1). In formulating this Standard, careful consideration
was given to the Standards already published in the USA (ASTM F803), Canada
(CSA P400) and Australasia (A/NZS 4066). The introduction of these standards,
in producing clear guidelines on quality of manufacture, has together with
new legislation, undoubtedly contributed substantially to eye safety in
these countries. However, the new British Standard has some additional
features. Protectors are tested at 4 points using a squash ball with an
impact velocity of 40m/s. Protectors designed for wearing over normal spectacles
(visors) are not permitted. No matter how good these visors, the quality
and integrity of the spectacles worn underneath could not be standardised
and could themselves cause an injury.
the introduction of the new standard, considerable interest has been generated
amongst UK manufacturers; to date some 15 protectors have passed the relevant
tests and are permitted to display BS 7930:1. They are listed in the Table,
and some are illustrated. It is anticipated that this list will continue
to expand. All can be safely recommended for use in squash.
7930:1 permits the use of prescription lenses, but in practice most manufacturers
choose only to make plano protectors (especially when making one-piece
protectors). Those protectors which can be supplied with prescription lenses
are shown in the Table. As an alternative, many sporting ametropes choose
to wear contact lenses, and can safely do so underneath plano protectors.
users and their ophthalmologist advisers should beware of the possibility
of misleading use, or frank abuse of irrelevant Standards when purchasing
protectors. In the past, manufacturers have sold eye protectors clearly
labelled for use in sport, bearing the old BS 2092 (industrial eye protection)
Standard which provides completely inadequate impact protection. More recently,
a very well-known manufacturer placed on sale a "protector" labelled specifically
for squash, bearing the European Standard EN 1836. This is an optical quality
Standard for sunglasses and has no relevance to impact protection. Whilst
such misleading advertising will be pursued ruthlessly once identified,
ophthalmologists are asked to ensure, if recommending specific protectors,
that they are appropriate for their function, and are asked to issue specific
warnings to potential users that they check the validity of any labelling.
If there is doubt about a particular protector, advice may be sought from
the Squash Rackets Association on 0181 746 1616.
due course British Standards for other racket sports will follow. Although
specific testing has not yet been performed, it is highly likely that the
current BS 7930:1 (squash) will also prove adequate for racketball and
badminton, and is likely to provide significant protection in tennis. It
is however unlikely that sufficient protection would be provided for the
very high impacts possible in rackets and real tennis. Unfortunately it
is not possible to manufacture a realistic protectors which can provide
comprehensive protection against racket impact in any of these sports.
Squash Rackets Association are now able to push forward with eye protection
in the knowledge that high-quality eye protectors are becoming more widely
available. Eye protection is now mandatory in doubles squash and in some
specified SRA major junior events. Further legislation for juniors is likely
to follow. As these measures take effect we hope to witness a substantial
and sustained reduction in eye injuries.
Committee PS/2/9 (Eye Protection in Sport)
These protectors meet British Standard BS 7030:1. Further protectors may
meet these criteria in due course.
863 9248 or
Leisure Sports Supplies Ltd.
Sports Products Ltd
Design - IX
Optical Co. Ltd
be fitted prescription lenses
published by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists
Guidelines from the College