Participating in sports is a great way to stay fit and have fun, but it’s important not to overlook the potential risks involved. One of the most common yet often overlooked hazards is sports-related eye injuries. In this post, we discuss the risks to your eyes while playing sports and share tips on protecting yourself and your vision during games.
Common Types of Sports-Related Eye Injuries
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, there are over 100,000 eye injuries related to sports every year. About 40,000 of these cases require emergency room treatment and around 13,000 become legally blind. The most common types of sports-related eye injuries include:
Also known as black eyes, contusions occur when the blood vessels around the eyes break due to a sudden impact.
These are scratches on the clear surface of the eye, which can be quite painful. They may lead to infection if not treated promptly.
Blunt Trauma Injuries
A blunt trauma injury can occur due to a forceful impact, such as being accidentally hit by a ball. It can lead to bruising, swelling or even damage to the internal structures of the eye.
Like a hockey stick, a foreign object can puncture the eye and cause severe damage.
Too much sun exposure during outdoor sports can lead to eye damage from harmful UV rays.
High-Risk Sports for Eye Injuries
All sports have a potential risk for eye injuries. However, some have higher risks than others:
- Basketball: With players moving in close quarters and using their hands, the risk of getting hit in the eye is high.
- Baseball/Softball: The speed of a pitched ball can lead to significant eye injury if it strikes a player.
- Racquet Sports: Fast-moving balls and swinging racquets can potentially cause eye injuries in sports like tennis and squash.
- Soccer: Collisions and flying elbows can lead to eye damage on the soccer field.
- Hockey: Flying pucks, sticks and body contact combine to make hockey a high-risk sport for eye injuries.
Protective Measures to Prevent Sports-Related Eye Injuries
Taking a few precautions can reduce your risk of sustaining an eye injury or needing an eye doctor. These include:
- Wearing proper sports eyewear – Polycarbonate lenses are impact-resistant and offer excellent protection. Goggles or face shields can also provide additional coverage.
- Ensuring proper fit and maintenance of protective eyewear – An ill-fitting or damaged piece of eyewear won’t provide adequate protection.
- Educating athletes on the importance of eye protection – Promoting a culture of safety in sports can help prevent injuries.
Recognizing and Responding to Sports-Related Eye Injuries
If you suspect an eye injury, seek immediate medical attention from an eye doctor. Common signs and symptoms include pain or discomfort, vision changes, swelling or redness, and blood in or around the eye. Timely and appropriate treatment by an eye doctor is key to minimizing damage and promoting a successful recovery.
Understanding and preventing sports-related eye injuries is crucial for maintaining eye health and enjoying your favorite activities safely. Don’t underestimate the importance of protecting your eyes on the field or court.
If you or a loved one has experienced a sports-related eye injury, the eye doctors at Alderwood Optical & Canyon Park Vision Clinic in Lynnwood, WA, can help. Call us at (425) 771-8472 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment.