Protect Your Vision: April is Sports Eye Safety Month

As spring brings Americans of all ages outdoors for organized sports, the American Academy of Ophthalmology brings attention to the concerning statistic; over 30,0000 sports-related eye injuries are treated in U.S. emergency rooms annually. April is Sports Eye Safety Month, a time to raise awareness about the risks of ocular trauma in sports and educate individuals on preventative measures to prevent such injuries.

Eye injuries can occur in almost any sport, but some pose a greater risk than others. Some of the sports that commonly lead to eye injuries include:

  • Basketball: Due to the face pace and potential for collisions players are at risk from fingers, elbows, or the ball itself.
  • Baseball or Softball: High-speed balls can cause serious injuries.
  • Soccer: Heading the ball, kicks, and collisions can lead to eye injuries.
  • Tennis: Racquet sports can result in injuries from fast-moving balls or stray swings.
  • Martial Arts: Combat sports pose risks from punches, kicks, or contact with opponents.

About 90% of injuries related to sports can be avoided by taking preventive measures. It's essential for athletes to use protective equipment like goggles or helmets with face shields to decrease the likelihood of eye injuries.

The most common types of eye injuries from sports include blunt injuries, corneal abrasions, and penetrating injuries.

  • Blunt injuries occur when the eye experiences sudden compression due to impact from an object. This can result in a black eye or hyphemia (bleeding in front of the eye), and in severe cases, it can damage eye structures.
  • Corneal abrasions are painful scrapes on the cornea. While most corneal abrasions heal on their own, an optometrist can assess the injury's severity and may prescribe medication to alleviate discomfort.
  • Penetrating Injuries: A foreign object piercing the eye. These injuries are very serious and must be treated quickly.

In the event of a child sustaining an eye injury, prompt treatment from a healthcare professional is essential to minimize the risk of long-term damage. Additionally, individuals should adhere to their healthcare provider's advice regarding the duration of time to refrain from sports activities during the healing process. Remember, your eye health is important – prioritize timely care for any eye injuries. Book your eye exam today!