Did you know that 90 percent of sports-related eye injuries are completely preventable? Ophthalmologists frequently treat eye injuries that result from athletics across all age groups, from children all the way up to professional adult players. These statistics shed light on just how common eye injuries from sports are:
Fast Facts On Sports-Related Eye Injuries
- Nearly 30,000 sports-related eye injuries are treated in U.S. emergency rooms each year.
- The majority of eye injuries in children are sports-related.
- Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in the U.S.
- Roughly 13,500 people become legally blind from sports-related eye injuries each year.
- 90% of sports-related eye injuries can be prevented with the use of protective eyewear, such as safety goggles, safety glasses/shields, and eye guards.
Highest Risk Sports
Different sports carry different levels of risk with respect to eye injuries. No matter which sport you or your child participate in, never hesitate to wear eye protection.
Regular prescription glasses, contact lenses, and sunglasses do not protect your eyes against injury. In fact, eye glasses can make an injury even worse because the lenses can shatter and scratch or puncture the cornea. If you wear glasses or contacts lenses, put a pair of safety shatterproof plastic safety goggles on, otherwise known as polycarbonate lenses.
The most common sports-related eye injuries are:
- Abrasions and contusions
- Corneal lacerations and abrasions
- Loss of an eye
- Orbital fracture (a break in one of the bones surrounding the eye)
- Retinal detachment
- Hyphema (the pooling of blood between the cornea and the iris)
- Ruptured eyeball
In the United States, basketball has proved to be the leading cause of eye injuries. Frequent collisions on the court can lead to retinal detachment and subconjunctival hemorrhage (a burst blood vessel). Basketball players should wear protective eyewear made with polycarbonate lenses to shield their eyes from avoidable injuries.
Baseball is one of the leading causes of eye injuries in children aged 14 and younger, according to the National Eye Institute. To keep your eyes safe on the field, consider getting a certified helmet with safety glasses attached. This specially made protective sports eyewear is designed with batters and base runners’ safety in mind.
- Water Sports
Water sports carry the risk of eye infections from bacteria in the water, and from accidental kicks/blows to the face from other swimmers. Never wear contact lenses and swim in a body of water, as this will likely lead to an eye infection. Wear goggles while swimming, and remember that prescription swim goggles are available to those with vision-impairment.
If you have an eye emergency, request an appointment with one of the physicians at Everett & Hurite or call at 412-288-0858. We remain open for in-office, telemedicine visits and surgical procedures. We are committed to providing excellent, ongoing care for our patients while taking every possible precaution in preventing the spread of COVID-19.