Preventing Sports Eye Injury

Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Preventing Sports Eye Injury

As April is designated Sports Eye Safety Month it is important to be aware of the need to be cautious in preventing sports eye injuries whether you are a weekend recreational athlete or a professional player. Proper eye protection goes a long way to helping athletes avoid sports eye injury. In fact thousands of people are blinded by sports related eye injuries each year. Consider that of the 100,000 eye injuries resulting from sports each year, an estimated 42,000 people are treated in the emergency room, and 13,500 end up legally blind. In fact injuries requiring emergency room treatment from sports equipment-including balls, bats, and rackets-was responsible for:
  • 41 percent of emergency room visits for children age 10 to 14.
  • 25 percent of emergency room visits for people age 15 to 24.
  • 20 percent of emergency room visits for children age 5 to 9.
In addition to injuries from sports equipment, many also suffer eye injuries caused by another player's errant finger or elbow to the eye. Eye injuries resulting from athletic activities can range from corneal abrasions or “scratched corneas” to the more serious, potentially catastrophic and blinding injuries, such as an orbital or eye socket fracture or even a retinal detachment.
90 percent of eye injuries are preventable by wearing protective eyewear!
Tips for Preventing Sports Eye Injury
·         Anyone who plays sports should wear appropriate eye protection that meet the standards of the American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM), such as polycarbonate lenses or masks, even if the organization, association team or league does not officially require it.
  • People who wear contacts or glasses should also wear appropriate protective eyewear, as contacts offer no protection and glasses are not sufficient protection since lenses may shatter when hit by a projectile.
  • To preserve the vision they have left, all functionally one-eyed athletes – those with one normal eye and the other eye with less than 20/40 vision, even when corrected with glasses or contacts – should wear appropriate eye protection for all sports.
  • Functionally one-eyed athletes and those who have had an eye injury or surgery should not participate in boxing or full-contact martial arts because of the high risk of additional serious injury that could lead to blindness.
  • For sports in which a facemask or helmet with eye protector or shield must be worn, such as football and lacrosse, it is strongly recommended that functionally one-eyed athletes also wear sports goggles that conform to the requirements of ASTM F803.
  • Sports eye protection should be replaced when damaged or yellowed with age, as they may have become weakened and are no longer protective.    
If you or someone you know has questions about preventing sports eye injury or protective eyewear, they are encouraged to contact Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061 and River Hill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland 21029, serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.