Pickleball is a game where a small, perforated whiffle ball flies back and forth over a net, as players run around a court to hit the ball with a paddle. And, for a majority of the game, players who are positioned at or near the Non-Volley Zone (or Kitchen) Line are only 14 feet apart. Given both the close proximity and the flying object—the pickleball—there is a risk for injury present. One possible injury on the pickleball court is an eye injury.
Eye injuries on the pickleball court can happen a number of ways, including by getting hit with the pickleball in the eye or by being poked in the eye by your partner’s elbow or hand. Eye injuries can happen at all levels—from beginner to professional. For instance, even one of the best pro pickleball players, Simone Jardim, suffered an eye injury at the USA Pickleball National Championships from an errant pickleball.
Most of these eye injuries are preventable by wearing eye protection (i.e., safety glasses). However, most pickleball players do not wear any eye protection, as eye protection is not required on the pickleball courts at any level. Although protective eyewear is not required to play pickleball, you may still want to consider wearing protective eyewear on the pickleball court.
There are two main benefits to wearing eye protection on the pickleball court:
Common reasons that pickleball players elect not to wear any protective eyewear include: style (i.e., not “cool”), fogging of lenses (which leads to worse visibility), uncomfortable fit, unnecessary for me, and cost. However, many of these common reasons not to wear protective eyewear are increasingly overcome as more and more quality eyewear products are coming into the market. As a result, given the main benefits of less risk of injury and potential for better visibility, it may be worth the investment in quality eyewear for the pickleball court.
If you are considering eyewear for the pickleball court, there are a number of features to look for:
One protective eyewear product that has made a splash into the pickleball community is RIA Eyewear. RIA Eyewear, which advertises that it meets all of the considerations above (with the potential for prescriptive lenses in the future), has even become the official sponsor for USA Pickleball. RIA Eyewear may be the solution to the combination of eye safety and performance on the pickleball court. Learn more about RIA Eyewear and check out all of their options for colors and lenses!
There are other, less expensive solutions for protective pickleball eyewear, too. However, it goes without saying that there are likely less performance and other benefits at the lower price point. For a few options on protective pickleball eyewear, check out the pictures below and visit Holabird Sports for more!
As mentioned above, protective eyewear is not mandated or otherwise required when playing pickleball (unlike some other sports). However, across all sports (including the sport of pickleball), there is increasing debate of whether to mandate or require protective eyewear when playing—particularly, when playing competitively.
What are your thoughts? Should protective eyewear be required on the pickleball court? Share with us in the comments below!
And, check out Pickler's other pickleball resources below:
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Since returning to professional pickleball this year, after taking a long COVID hiatus, Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters have been traveling the country for pickleball tournaments. But, one thing that that they have not done in a really long time is take a family vacation... until now. Learn about Team Waters' trip to Costa Rica from Leigh herself, which included as much, or more, pickleball than at home in Florida, monkey spectators, family bonding, surfing, and a lot of new friends made on the Costa Rican pickleball courts, which reminded them how much fun the great sport of pickleball really is.