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So I was watching some youtube clips of top squash players playing and I noticed that none of them wear goggles.

Why is this? You'd think at that level, where it's so competitive and they're hitting the ball harder than ever that it would be more important to protect yourself.

Do goggles affect their performance?

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According to "What do adult squash players think about protective eyewear?" (by C. Finch, P. Vear):

The major reason for not wearing protective eyewear was the perception that it was unnecessary. Poor vision and a lack of comfort were also stated as reasons by a significant number of players.

BBC article "Squash players fail to protect eyes" states as:

[...] among those not wearing eye protection, over a third complained that it restricted their vision during play, and one in four said it was too uncomfortable, even though most had not actually tried it.

Pro-players are being injured too. You may read SquashClub.org FAQ on "Are eyeguards neccessary?":

Can you cite top players who have been injured?

Jonathan Power was in top form and looked like winning his second World Open title in 2002. Up a game in the semifinal with David Palmer, he was hit in the eye with Palmer's racquet. Power did not suffer permanent damage, but he did not open his left eye for some weeks, and had to retire from the match.

Alex Gough was up a game and beating John White in the 2006 Motor City Open Semifinal when White hit Gough in the eye with his racquet. "Play was suspended for five minutes as Gough was treated...Gough's eye continued to ooze blood for the remainder of the match...The blow, coming late in the second game...cost him the point, and the momentum - as White prodeeded to dominate the next two games to win."

Julian Wellings hit Nathan Dugan square in the eye with the ball during a freak fit of anger, and Dugan's full vision did not return for three months.

Will Carlin, former U.S. champion ranked as high as #60 in the world, received a detached and torn retina from a ball strike. He has since endured two long surgeries, $50k+ in medical expenses, extreme pain, nausea, anxiety and a flood of "floaters." He also lost two years from a promising professional squash career. Please read US National Champion, Will Carlin's story.

Please also note that, according to the US Squash:

The risk of eye injury in racquet sports such as squash is high according to the American Academies of Ophthalmology and Pediatrics, the American Optometric Association, and eye care professionals who have studied sports eye injuries. Fortunately, these injuries are almost totally preventable with appropriate protective equipment.

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one of the main reasons for not wearing goggles/eye protection in squash is inconvenience. This is mainly due to the eye protection fogging up due to body heat and perspiration, requiring the player to wipe and clean the glasses. This causes breaks in play and concentration which most players consider a huge disadvantage. Because this occurs on a regular basis, compared to eye injuries being infrequent (number of games without injury v number of games with fogged eye wear) , it becomes a more preferable option to go with statistics and leave the eye protection off. Even though good sense would dictate otherwise.

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I am predominantly a tournament racquetball player but I also love playing squash. Eye protection during racquetball tournaments is mandatory. That is, if you are not prepared to wear eye protection (closed lenses only) then you are NOT allowed to play in the tournament. It is quite sad that sanctioned squash tournaments do not legislate this as well. It bothers me that squash players (especially the elite to open to professional players) do not set the example for the youth by wearing eye protection. I have seen this almost all the time. I have also played in squash tournaments where young people have stated that they don't wear eye guards because the top players never wear them. The governing body needs to get involved and make eye protection mandatory for all players at all levels.

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  • The majority of this, is an opinion-based response suitable to a discussion forum, but has no relation at all to the question. Please edit to focus your remarks on answering the question. – Nij Mar 6 '17 at 3:55
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In 1976, as a first year medic student and UK junior "county" player I published in "Squash Player International" an analysis of squash raquet and ball injuries. Backhand follow throughs took out the left eyeball, with ball injuries more severe and evenly distributed.

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