I'll wager that if you are an adult squash player at any
standard you don't wear squash glasses or goggles. You have
probably never considered the need to wear protective eyewear
on court. The question is... Should you be wearing squash
glasses to look after your valuable eyesight or is protective
eyewear simply a product of the paranoid and mollycoddled
society we now live in?
I've been playing squash for nearly 20 years and until
recently I never wore eye protection. I then started coaching
junior squash and I quickly made the rule of "no glasses,
no squash". In my opinion it was too much to risk the
eyesight of these guys. I also started wearing glasses on
court when coaching the juniors as it felt hypocritical
to insist they wore glasses when I wasn't... further more
a few enthusiatic but wild shots from the little critters
steeled my resolve to look after myself as well as them.
I have since tried to wear squash glasses during friendly
squash matches (a true oxymoron) but I must confess that
being an ultra competitive squash nut means the glasses
have lasted as long as I'm winning. To my surprise the proper
squash glasses (just like those that I insisted my juniors
wear) dont actually steam up, are reasonably comfortable
and vision quickly adapts. Whilst the view out of glasses
isn't as good as without them the only real problem I had
was an issue of sweat running down the inside of the lens.
I probably could have got over the sweat problem (on the
lenses that is) with the use of a headband but then no redblooded
male wears a headband... do they?! So there we have it I'm
now risking my eyesight every time I play my favourite sport
because I wont wear a headband. It sounds bonkers when the
pros and cons are considered but I am currently in the same
boat as ~99% of all adult squash players out there.
At my squash club we have well over 100 playing members,
of these members three wear eye protection:
- Player 1 always plays in protective guard type glasses
when on court. Ever since he was hit in the eye with a
squash ball about 20 years ago he has worn some form of
squash goggles. (For ref it is my understanding that the
lensless guard type eye protectors are not BSI approved
- Player 2 is a doctor. I have never seen her on court
without approved squash glasses. When I asked her about
why she always wears glasses her reason was that she had
seen too many damaged eyes in A&E to not look after
her own eyes.
- Player 3 is an optician who wears standard safety specs.
Interestingly he said he is content to take the risk in
wearing "normal safety specs" but he makes sure
his kids play in BSI approved squash glasses.
To the best of my knowledge none of the above players have
ever enforced or preached the need to wear eye protection,
it just appears they do it to look after themselves in light
of what they've seen in their jobs or experienced on court.
To my shame I still play squash without eye glasses...
but I'm trying - just another aspect of my game to work
Points of reference:
- A wide range of eyewear approved for racket sports is
available from www.TitanSport.co.uk.
- BS 7930-1 is the British standard for eyewear approved
and tested for racket sports. ASTM F803 is the American
standard. CSA P400 is the Canadian standard. A/NZS 4066
is the Australian standard.
- This purpose of this article is food for thought and
ScottishSport.co.uk can in no way endorse the use eyewear
that has not been approved for racket sports.
- Squash glasses are mandatory for doubles squash and
for junior competitions.
Comment from a reader:
From: Peter B
Subject: Squash goggles
I have just come across the article - no author name-
concerning his experiences with this form of protection.
If possible I would like to endorse all the comments
about the need to wear goggles. In fact the less experienced
need protection so that they may continue before they
get injured. Very few players avoid any sort of injury
and quite a lot get bad injuries. Many of the latter
arise simply because of reckless play and/or carelessness.
Now 73 and still attempting to play good squash -
a problem for anyone who has played tennis, badminton
and table tennis for many years before coming to squash
- I thought I could handle all the really aggressive
players that I came across until I made a classic
error: turning to see where was the best place to
run to. The ball entered my left eye socket, fortunately
not straight on or I would have lost my eye, and I
had to endure the most searing pain I can ever remember.
But I was lucky, so lucky. Examination of my eye revealed
that whilst there was considerable scarring in evidence
as I could then still see I might not have any long
term problem. However, if I intended to go on playing
ANY sport I must consider using whatever protection
was available. Consequently I have ever since then
Other players acknowledge the sense of using goggles
but, just like me, never consider that they may get
injured. Of all the players in my club only two women
players use protective eyewear, although all the juniors
must do so.
My eyesight is much more important than any game,
any sport or any other activity.