More than 40 percent of eye injuries that occur every year are related to sports or recreational activities. A recent study found that about 30,000 people
in the U.S. went to an emergency department with a sports-related eye injury, a substantially higher estimate than previously reported. Three sports
accounted for almost half of all injuries: basketball, baseball and air/paintball guns.
Basketball was the leading cause of injury in males, followed by baseball/softball, and air/paintball guns. Baseball or softball was the leading cause among females, followed by cycling and soccer. In support of Sports Eye Safety Month in April, Joseph & Swan Eye Center and the American Academy of Ophthalmology are offering athletes of all ages guidance on how to protect their eyes.
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. About one-third of sports related eye injuries happen to kids.
The good news is that simply wearing protective eyewear can prevent about 90 percent of eye injuries. Follow these tips to save your vision:
"Virtually all sports eye injuries could be prevented by wearing proper eye protection," said ophthalmologist Dianna L. Seldomridge, 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 eyesmart.org.