Ophthalmologists Urge Eye Protection for Recreational and Professional Sports
New research shows that about 30,000 people in the U.S. go to emergency departments each year with sports-related eye injuries, a substantially higher estimate than previously reported. This April during Sports Eye Safety Month, Regional Eye Associates and the American Academy of Ophthalmology remind the public that the right protective eyewear is the best defense against eye injury.
Three sports accounted for almost half of all trips to the emergency room: basketball, baseball, and air/paintball guns. Sports-related injuries can range from corneal abrasions and bruises on the lids to more serious, vision-threatening internal injuries, such as a retinal detachment and internal bleeding.
Ophthalmologists — physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care — continue to remind the public that most sports-related eye injuries are avoidable.
Here are some tips for both the professional athlete and the Little League star to stay safe:
- Eye protection can weaken with age and may no longer provide adequate protection. Consider replacing when damaged or yellowed.
For basketball, racquet sports, soccer and field hockey, wear protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses.
“I’ve treated many patients with eye trauma because of an unintentional blow to the face,” said Rahul N. Khurana, M.D., clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “Athletes often engage in these seemingly safe, yet rugged, high-impact sports with zero awareness about the potential risk factors. This is why eye protection is critical and can greatly reduce the number of emergency room visits treated each year.
Find more information about eye health and how to protect your eyes on the Academy’s EyeSmart website.