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A visor, in football, is a piece of curved plastic that attaches to a player's mask, covering the eyes. Visors provide a range of benefits for players, from blocking sunlight to protecting the eyes. They are also available tinted or in prescriptions for players with vision problems.
Football visors can protect against eye injuries. Football players risk being struck in the eye by the football, as well as players' feet and fingers when wearing a typical mask that leaves the eyes exposed. A visor covers the eyes, protecting them from blows and poked. According to Ohio State University's Research News website, football visors can handle an impact of approximately 562 pounds of force -- meaning they are capable of sustaining a heavy blow from a kick.
Prescription football visors are available for athletes with less than perfect vision. This allows a player to see properly without the need of glasses, contact lenses or other corrective lenses. Unlike glasses, a prescription visor is unlikely to fall off during the course of rough play.
Tinted football visors can help football players by filtering out bright sunlight -- much in the same way that sunglasses work. In sunny weather, this provides a player with an advantage by improving his vision. It can also benefit players with light sensitivities, including photophobia. The player doesn't need to worry about losing sight of the ball in the sun, or being temporarily blinded by the sun when wearing a tinted visor.
Tinted football visors can also hide a player's eyes from his opponent, so that he does not know where the player is looking. While this can provide an advantage on the field, it also poses a safety risk. If a player is injured or knocked out, the person providing first aid needs to be able to see the players eyes to properly assess his condition. Because of this problem, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the National Federation of State High School Football Associations have banned tinted visors.