How to Avoid Sports-Related Eye Injuries

April is Sports Eye Safety Month. Every year in the U.S. 100,000 eye injuries are related to sports activities. And around 13,500 of these injuries lead to some degree of permanent vision loss.

Lighthouse Guild wants to remind you and your family members that 90 percent of sports-related eye injuries can be prevented with the use of protective eyewear.

The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) provides standards for the level of eye protection required for various sports activities.

Typical injuries associated with sports

Common sports eye injuries include corneal abrasions, lacerations and bleeding in the eye. In contact sports like football and martial arts, more serious injuries can include eye socket fractures and detached retinas.

Basketball is one of the most common sports for eye injuries because players can easily get poked in the eye with fingers. There are an estimated 6,000 basketball eye injuries each year.

Notable basketball players who have been sidelined because of eye injuries include Dallas Mavericks’ Rajon Rondo (eye socket fracture), Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Love (corneal abrasion) and Los Angeles Lakers’ Brandon Bass (corneal abrasion).

Sports eye safety tips

  • Wear protective eyewear with shatterproof polycarbonate lenses for sports such as basketball, racket sports, soccer and field hockey. Polycarbonate lenses provide the best protection because they can withstand the impact from a ball or other projectiles traveling at up to 90 miles per hour.
  • In addition, put on a helmet with a polycarbonate face mask or wire shield when playing baseball, ice hockey and lacrosse. For football, wear a polycarbonate eye shield attached to a helmet-mounted wire face mask.
  • When snow or water skiing, wear protective glasses or goggles with UV protection to shield your eyes from sunburn and glare.
  • Wear sports goggles over eyeglasses and contact lenses. Eyeglass lenses might shatter when hit by a flying object. Contact lenses offer no protection.
  • Replace old protective eyewear that is scratched, damaged in some other way, or yellowed with age.
  • Do NOT treat a cut or punctured eye on your own. Don’t remove an object stuck in the eye, or touch, rub or apply pressure to the eye. Seek immediate medical help, as a mishandled injury could result in permanent vision loss or blindness. In the meantime, gently taping a shield, like the bottom of a paper cup, over the bones surrounding the eye can protect the area until you get medical attention.

 It is important to note that if you have any symptoms of eye or vision problems, don’t wait for your regularly scheduled exam to make an appointment with your eye doctor. Lighthouse Guild provides comprehensive vision care.

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