Know the Score: Wearing Eye Protection Prevents Athletes from Getting Benched Due to Injury
Sports-related eye injuries cause an estimated 100,000 doctor visits each year. Yet, most of these injuries can be prevented by wearing eye protection. In fact, a recent study of high school field hockey players shows that traumatic eye injuries fell 67 percent after eye protection became mandatory. In support of Sports Eye Safety Month in September, Joseph & Swan Eye Center and the American Academy of Ophthalmology are offering athletes of all ages guidance on how to best protect their eyes.
Common sports eye injuries include corneal abrasions, lacerations and bleeding in the eye. Basketball players tend to get poked in the eye with fingers. Tennis and softball players more often get hit with fast moving balls. In contact sports like football and martial arts, more severe ocular injuries such as retinal detachment and orbital fracture occur. One-third of sports-related eye injuries happen to kids.
The good news is that 90 percent of eye injuries can be prevented with the use of protective eyewear. Save your vision while playing sports by following these tips:
"Virtually all sports eye injuries could be prevented by wearing proper eye protection," said ophthalmologist Philip R. Rizzuto, M.D., clinical spokesperson for the Academy. "That's why I always strongly encourage athletes to protect their eyes when participating in competitive sports."
Anyone who experiences a sports eye injury should immediately visit an ophthalmologist,a physician specializing in medical and surgical eye care.
For more information on sports eye safety, see the American Academy of Ophthalmology's EyeSmartÂ® website at www.aao.org/eye-health.
 Eye injuries in athletics and recreation, Survey of Ophthalmology. 1996. Napier, et al.
 Eye Protection and Risk of Eye Injuries in High School Field Hockey, Pediatrics, Sept. 2015. Kriz, et al.
 Prevention of sports injuries, Journal of Ophthalmic Nursing & Technology, 1990. Vinger, P.F.