Please Wear Squash Goggles: Here Is Why

Eye injuries are rare in squash, but they can be very serious. Please wear squash goggles.

A professional squash player wearing googles during a squash match

24 June 2024 / 1-Min Read / Translate



This article has two parts. Part 1, a video and a real life story, and part 2, which is some quick research into the longevity of squash googles.

Part 1: The Video And The Story

I want to start by saying that Giuliana, the lady in the story, is okay and her sight is back to normal. However, I hope her story will act as a catalyst to your buying and wearing squash goggles.

Giuliana and I had been chatting for a few months about squash coaching and squash camps, when she sent me a message saying she had been hit in the eye. There's not much you can say in situations like that, so I wished her the best and hoped she would be okay.

A little while later she sent me the video and photograph.

Please note: The video is quite graphic and I have shared it, along with the photograph and words with Giuliana's permission.

Giuliana did nothing wrong. She didn't move too far across the court or made it difficult for her opponent to hit the front wall. In this case, her opponent must accept responsibility. But that's a separate issue. When beginners or newcomers play squash, they all should wear goggles. Ideally, they would be taught about safety first, but the reality is that doesn't happen enough.

These were Giuliana's words: "and that I really thought about you saying about wearing googles...and I thought it was so almost impossible to that tiny ball get to my eye."

A closeup of Giulian's eyes a few days after the accident.

Giuliana knows she was very very lucky.

She continued "I had the googles in my backpack but they fog and I can't see very well with them. I didn't take it seriously and was more concerned about being hit with the racket in my head. Honestly the ball coming straight to my eye seemed to me almost impossible to happen, and yet, yesterday it perfectly found its place hitting my right eye.".

So buying squash goggles is only half the story - YOU HAVE TO WEAR THEM: NO EXCUSES!

Squash goggles fogging up is a valid concern, but the simple solution in nearly all cases, is to remove them the moment the point ends, and place them back on as you are about to serve or receive serve. They fog up because there's no airflow when you are not moving - at least that's my experience.

The governing body of squash, the World Squash Federation is in a difficult situation. If they promote squash safety too much, squash could be seen as a dangerous sport, if they don't do any promotion about squash safety, they could be accused of ignoring or neglecting an important issue. The key questions is: How much squash safety promotion should governing bodies, national associations and clubs do?.

I say more than they are doing now.

I want to finish with more of Giuliana's words: "If I get out of this with no side effects I'll never, ever again play without protection."

Please, please, please, don't wait until YOU have a near miss. Let Giuliana's near miss be everybody's near miss.

Part 2: The Longevity Of Squash Googles

A little while ago, I learnt that cycling helmets have a lifespan of between 3 to 5 years. After that, irrespective of whether they have received any hard hits, they should be replaced. I'll be honest and say I had never even though about that. I immediately thought about replacing my 8 years old (!) one.

Of course, that go me thinking about squash googles, and that same morning I sent 9 emails; one to the World Squash Federation and 8 to the manufacturers on their official list.

A list of emails I sent to squash goggle manufacturers

Not everybody replied - shame on them.

Much to my disappointment, but not surprise, some didn't even reply. Those that did, Claire from Karakal was amazing in chasing up the right people and answers, so much thanks to her, and Technifibre also provided the right answer too.

I asked them whether there was a time limit on the use of squash goggles, fearing the same situation as cycling helmets, and the good news is that no, there isn't a time limit. Squash googles are made from Polycarbonate, which is a very stable material. So unless you play in oven or freezer temperatures, your very old squash goggles are still safe to use.

However, there are two important points to make. Firstly, your squash googles should be replaced immediately after receiving a hard hit. The same is true of all safety equipment though. Secondly, don't leave them out in the sun (unlikely as squash players are half-vampires anyway!). Apparently sunlight "can" make them brittle. Common sense is required here. What is meant is don't store them on a window sill or somewhere they could lie in the sun for a long time. Keep them in your squash bag.

The three models of technifibre squash googles

As of 2024, the current Technifibre squash goggles.

If You Are Waiting For A Sign, This Is It!

If you have been thinking about buying and trying some squash googles, consider this a sign that you should do it. Try to buy a pair of Karakal or Technifibre ones to reward their customer service, but if those brands are not available, any on the World Squash Federation's list of Certified Eyewear will do.

Final Thoughts

It's was never my intention to shock or sacre you with the inclusion of the video. However, you need to understand that squash players, and especially those new to the game, should always wear googles.

Make it a habit that you don't break. Protect your eyes at all times.

Buy a pair of squash googles and use them EVERY SNGLE TIME YOU GO ON COURT!

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