By Michael T. Bello
Published Nov 2, 2016 at 7:00 AM ET; Updated Oct 30, 2016 at 8:33 PM ET

Hatfield, MA — The College Squash Association reminds players and coaches that proper eyewear is required for all college squash matches, including warmups and match play.

The CSA believes it is so critical to wear proper eyewear that a match will be forfeited if proper eyewear is not worn.

Despite the fact that eyewear is the only piece of squash equipment that protects a player from catastrophic injury, it is the least focused on piece of squash paraphernalia. Yet, to play a match or to practice, players and coaches need to wear eyewear whenever they step foot on a court.

Standard eyewear (i.e. everyday prescription glasses) may not be worn in place of acceptable eyewear. The CSA has detailed Eyewear Rules, which include the following language:

Approved eyewear must be worn for the entirety of a match, from the beginning of the warm-up until the match’s conclusion. Standard eyeglasses may not be worn in lieu of approved eyewear, even if the eyeglasses have plastic lenses. In the event of a player not having approved eyewear for their match, the rules for a self-inflicted injury apply. In the event that a player’s eyewear breaks during a match, the injury rule may be required to determine the result. This would only be needed in the case of prescription glasses that cannot be immediately replaced. In the event of a player not having approved eyewear and a suitable replacement not being found, the player must forfeit the match.

For players with glasses, prescription eyewear, such as Rec Specs, are available. An iMask fits over standard eyewear. Often, contacts and a pair of protective eyewear is an inexpensive solution.

In February 2014, Squash Magazine published an article entitled “Thirty Years On: The History of Eye Protection in the U.S.” This article details how the editor of Squash Magazine, US Squash board members, decorated professional players including Jonathon Power and Peter Barker, all have been hit in the eye during squash matches. Ophthalmologist Paul Vinger told Squash Magazine, “If you play squash regularly, you have a one in four chance of getting hit in the eye.” James Zug, writing for Squash Magazine, explains:

This statistic comes from crunching of numbers that conclude that without eye protection, there is an eye injury for every 5,329 squash matches. If you play a match a week for fifty weeks a year for twenty-five years, you play about one-fourth of the 5,329. “Traumatic eye injuries are not accidents but predictable events” [says Vinger].

Harrow Sports, the CSA’s official equipment supplier, has eyewear available to CSA players.

Note: Popular eyewear, such as Harrow Rudy Project and Oakley models, have NOT been confirmed as having been tested or having met the ASTM-F803 standard for eye protection and are therefore are NOT currently approved for use in order to be compliant with the US. Squash Protective Eyewear Policy. Please consult the US Squash Approved Eyewear list prior to selecting eyewear.