[Updated on 1 August 2022] One way to live your life is to think is asymmetric returns. An asymmetric return is something with outsized return relative to the risk, or outsized risk relative to the return. When thinking about if you will wear squash goggles, this is how to think about it.
What is the benefit of wearing the goggles vs not wearing your goggles? If you wear them, you keep your eyesight (pretty great). If you do not wear squash goggles, you could lose your eyesight. It seems pretty easy for us what to choose!
This is simplistic but directionally accurate. Although the pros do not wear goggles while playing squash (we’ll get to that a little later), most other people do, and there are many good reasons not to stray from this requirement.
Many professional squash players choose to not wear squash goggles, and they have weighed the probabilities of whether or not to put the goggles on. The probability that they get hit by another professional is less likely than playing with amateurs.
With that said, 99% of you playing squash will be playing with another amateur player. So put the goggles on!
Not Just the Right Thing to Do
Wearing goggles or protective eyewear of some sort on the squash court is the right thing to do for many reasons. Let’s face it, a squash ball can travel through the air at some pretty fast speeds, and it only takes a nano-second for it to fling in the wrong direction and hit you in the eyes or face area. Squash goggles greatly reduce the damages suffered when this happens.
In addition, other things can happen to cause damage to your face and eyes, including players that have less accuracy than you, collisions with either the ball or the racquet, and errant backswings. It happens faster than you realize, and you simply won’t have time to move your head out of the way before you get whacked with the ball.
Indeed, these are just a few reasons why many squash clubs, fitness centers, tournament sponsors, and various leagues actually require players to wear goggles. It isn’t just the liability issue they’re worried about. They also want to make sure the players are well-protected and won’t end up seriously injured from playing squash.
What Happens When Your Eyes Are Injured?
If you think eye injuries aren’t that serious, think again. Getting hit in the eye with either a racquet or squash ball can cause damages that are quite serious, including:
- Ripped pupils, meaning you won’t be able to focus on anything afterward
- Swollen or hemorrhaging in the retina, which can damage your vision and cause you to need surgery
- Bleeding in the eyes, which can cause glaucoma
None of these are pleasant situations, so if you’re one of these people that prefers to be able to see things when you open your eyes without any pain or discomfort, wearing squash goggles is a must.
So, in answer to the question, should you wear squash goggles (and why the pros do not), keep in mind that you’re taking a lot of chances with your eye health if you do not wear goggles while playing squash. Having said that, let’s get to the professional squash players, and their playing sans the goggles each time they go out on the court.
The Pros and Squash Goggles
Professional squash players are not required to wear protective eyewear, mainly because it has always been thought that they weren’t necessary. Players also complained that they restricted vision and that they were uncomfortable to boot.
Of course, most people consider this to be a mistake, and if you’re convinced that pro squash players never suffer from eye injuries because they’re experienced players, consider the following pros who will prove you wrong:
- Jonathan Powell, who suffered an eye injury from his opponent’s racquet and who couldn’t open that eye for weeks afterward
- Nathan Dugan, who was hit in the eye with a squash ball and didn’t get his vision back for three months
- Alex Gough, who was hurt in a match and missed a few games, after he was hit so bad his eye bled for a long time
- Will Carlin, whose detached retina from a squash ball caused him to suffer through two surgeries, more than $50,000 in medical bills, and symptoms such as extreme pain, anxiety, and a lot of “floaters”
Nowadays, many organizations and even individuals, not to mention the players themselves, are trying to change this rule and require that professional squash players wear goggles every time they go out on the court.
Types of Goggles You Can Wear
Just like other types of goggles, squash goggles come in many different types, including the type that fits over your glasses, goggles that have adjustable straps for the perfect fit, and even goggles that look like a standard pair of glasses. Fortunately, these goggles are very reasonably priced so you won’t have to spend a lot of money to get a sturdy pair that will protect your eyes as you play.
One of the biggest problems with wearing goggles while playing squash is the fog that can build up as you play, causing your vision to be skewed. You can avoid this simply by choosing goggles with vents above the lens and with sidearm straps that are adjustable so you can remove them quickly if you need to. The ones with head straps are a little more difficult to remove.
Finding the Best Squash Goggles
Of course, to make sure you get the best goggles, you naturally want to choose a pair that is specifically made for squash because if you don’t, they might not fit as well or provide as much protection in the end. Don’t try to “make do” with any pair of goggles – go to a sporting goods store and buy ones specially made for the game of squash.
Having said this, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good pair of squash goggles. As mentioned earlier, they are not that expensive as a general rule. In fact, you can usually get a good pair of high-quality squash goggles for around $30, sometimes even less. The important thing to remember is to buy a pair made for squash and made by a reputable company. The rest should be easy.
Wearing goggles in squash is a must if you want to make sure eye injuries don’t occur, and although the reasons for wearing them are numerous, purchasing the goggles is a lot simpler and less expensive than you think.
Protecting your eyesight now means a lot fewer problems in the future, and it all starts with wearing a simple pair of squash goggles.