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Sports Eye Injury

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, thousands of people are hurt by sports-related eye injuries each year. About 13,500 of these injuries result in permanent vision loss.

One in three eye injuries involves children. These alarming numbers have been rising over the last decade. The staff at Pacific Eye Surgeons want to remind athletes and casual sports players that most sports-related eye injuries can be avoided by wearing the proper protection.

Serious injuries, which most commonly occurred during water sports and basketball, included infections, corneal abrasions, eye socket fractures, swollen or detached retinas, and traumatic cataracts.

Baseball, hockey, and martial arts are also considered high-risk sports. Fast flying balls, hockey pucks and sticks, and elbows cause many injuries. These injuries are especially common amongst children and teenagers. Some sports are more dangerous than others, but there is some risk involved in nearly all athletic activities.

Whether children are playing with their sports team or playing sports in their homes, eye protection is extremely important to remember!

Glasses and Contacts Are Not Enough!

Glasses and contacts do not provide eye protection from impact or damage. In fact, some glasses can shatter, and make an eye injury much worse. Protective eyewear should be made from polycarbonate material. Polycarbonate material resists shattering and can provide UV (ultraviolet light) protection. Polycarbonate lenses are superior to plastic because they are thinner, lighter, and more impact resistant.

Some Tips When Buying Protective Eyewear:

You May Need More Protection for Your Sport

In many sports, polycarbonate glasses or goggles are not enough. An organization called ASTM, sets international standards for equipment needed to prevent eye injuries.

These standards are very specific to each type of sport. Most sports organizations have specific recommendations for injury protection. For example, there may be specific goggles that are best for racket sports or lacrosse.

Some examples of extra protection needed are:

We recommend that you consult the ASTM website to find the most current and appropriate ASTM standards for the sport you or your children are playing. Look for the appropriate ASTM standard for your sport on the product and/or its packaging before making a purchase!

Don’t Forget UV Protection!

Even though you can’t see the sun’s rays, it doesn’t mean your eyes aren’t being damaged by them. Your eyes can suffer serious damage due to exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

This can happen during all outdoor sports and recreation activities. Whether you are skiing in the winter or water skiing in the summer, you are susceptible to sunburn and glare.

Be sure to wear protective eyewear with UV protection for all your outdoor activities even if it’s cloudy outside.

First Aid for Eye Injuries

The organization Prevent Blindness has some excellent information on first aid that we have included below.

It’s always good to be prepared for an injury. Stock a first aid kit with a rigid eye shield and some commercial eyewash. Familiarize yourself with the basic first aid tips that are explained below.

Do not assume that any eye injury is minor. If you have any doubt, see an eye doctor right away.

Specks or Foreign Objects in the Eye:

Cuts and Punctures to the Eye or Eyelid:

Remember that whenever you play sports of any kind, you should also wear the proper eye protection as well. This is the best way to ensure that your eyes will be safe when you play sports and will help you avoid the possibility of suffering permanent vision loss.

Concerned that you may have experienced a sports-related eye injury? Contact Pacific Eye Surgeons to schedule an appointment and visit us at one of our 7 convenient locations!

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