Eye Injuries from Sports
Timothy P Kenkel and Associates see many patients particularly during spring and summer with head trauma and eye injuries from playing high-risk sports.
Throughout the country every year more than 45,000 sports-related and recreational eye injuries are treated in the emergency room. More than half are suffered by children. The good news is that 90 percent of serious eye injuries are preventable through use of appropriate protective eyewear.
The risk of eye injury can vary depending on the activity. Make sure the level of eye protection you or others in your family use is appropriate for the type of activity. Regular eyeglasses and contact lenses do not offer proper eye protection.
For all age groups, sports-related eye injuries occur most frequently in baseball, basketball and racket sports.
Boxing and full-contact martial arts pose an extremely high risk of serious and even blinding eye injuries. There is no satisfactory eye protection for boxing, although thumb-less gloves may reduce the number of boxing eye injuries.
For sports such as basketball, racket sports, soccer and field hockey, protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses should be worn.
In baseball, ice hockey and men’s lacrosse, a helmet with a polycarbonate (an especially strong, shatterproof, lightweight plastic) face mask or wire shield should be worn at all times. For women's lacrosse, high quality protective eyewear is worn, even though contact is officially discouraged.
Using extra caution during activities or games involving projectiles and other sharp objects that could create injury if in contact with the eye is advised. The U.S. Eye Injury Registry mentions that fishing happens to be the number one cause of sports-related eye injuries.
Since delaying medical attention can result in blindness or permanent vision loss, if an eye injury occurs, see an eye doctor or go to the emergency room immediately, even if the eye injury appears minor.