Every year, thousands and thousands of individuals go to the emergency room for sports-related eye injuries. A study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Harvard, and other institutions found that roughly 30,000 sports-related eye injuries are treated at emergency rooms each year. Although many of these eye injuries are not serious, thousands of people experience serious complications – or even blindness – from these accidents. Many of these people are children.
What are the most common eye injuries during sports?
The American Family Physician divides sports-related eye injuries into three categories:
- Blunt trauma injuries occur when an object hits the eye, such as a baseball or an elbow. This is the most common type of sports-related eye injury.
- Penetrating injuries occur when an object cuts into the eye, such as a fingernail.
- Radiation injuries occur when the eye is exposed to too much ultraviolet light from the sun. Sports that occur near reflective surfaces (e.g., snow and water) are commonly responsible for these injuries.
How can you protect your eyes?
Make sure to wear proper protection for your eyes, especially during high-risk sports. High-risk sports include any sport that involves a ball, a stick, a racquet, a puck, or body contact.
“If you’re dealing with projectiles or fast-moving objects, protective eyewear is definitely worthwhile” said Dr. R. Sterling Haring in an interview with the New York Times. Dr. Haring is a doctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins and the University of Lugano in Switzerland, where he studies ways to reduce eye injuries in sports.
People who play sports including baseball, softball, lacrosse and ice hockey can benefit from wearing polycarbonate facemasks or wire shields. Individuals who play racquet sports, soccer and field hockey should wear protective glasses made from polycarbonate.
For more information on how you can protect your eyes – and your vision – contact us at Bonner Eye Clinic to set up a comprehensive eye examination.