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Protective eyewear for kids and sports

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Legend has it that professional football pioneer Bronko Nagurski once plowed through an opposing line, raced into and through the end zone and didn't stop until he crashed face-first into the brick wall separating the field from grandstands.

Upon regaining his senses, Nagurski is said to have observed: "That last guy hit me pretty hard."

Perhaps that last guy wouldn't have hit him at all if he'd been wearing prescription eyewear.

That's one of the reasons Kim Manthe, optical manager at Clarus Eye Center/Clarus Optical, recommends that all children involved in sports under the age of eighteen need protective eyewear. 

"Sport safety glasses provide protection that helps avoid an injuries with potential life-long consequences," she says.

Clarus, which has centers in Lacey and DuPont and can provide exams for people of all ages, offers a package deal that covers sport safety frames and lenses, whether prescription or nonprescription, that are impact resistant for $150 or less.

"It's a special we provide to protect your kids," says Manthe.

It is designed to protect the eyesight of every youngster who picks up a bat, a ball or comes in close proximity to any other object that can damage his or her eyesight. Even those who don't need glasses should protect their eyes when participating in sports, Manthe explains.

Goggles are the obvious choice for pre-pubescent athletes with normal visual acuity since goggles don't need to be replaced as long as the child's acuity doesn't decline with age. All the child has to do is loosen the strap to make the goggles fit. And even if the child's eyesight changes, all that has to be replaced are the lenses.

Goggles are a godsend for parents of athletes participating in activities such swimming and downhill skiing, but they aren't suited to every sport. Little leaguers, for example, would feel like goobs approaching the plate, bat in hand and looking for like a 1920s racecar driver. They prefer sunglasses like the big-leaguers wear, shades that wrap around the eye, providing protection from all angles.

Even sunglasses can be fitted with prescription lenses that transition to accommodate the wearer's various ranges of acuity, Manthe says.

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