Sports Eye Safety Tips
September is sports eye safety month. The purpose of this month-long event is to raise awareness and educate the public on the importance of protecting our eyes while playing sports.
According to Prevent Blindness, the advocacy group that sponsors Sports Eye Safety Month, more than 33,000 Americans are treated for sports-related eye injuries every year.
Additionally, they report that:
- Most eye injuries happen while practicing water sports
- Basketball is the second leading cause of eye injury
- Paintball, shooting air guns, racket sports, and soccer are the sports activities with the highest proportion of injuries resulting in vision damage or loss
Types of Sports-Related Eye Injuries
The most common sports-related eye injuries include:
A corneal abrasion is a scratch on the surface of the eye. Although most corneal abrasions will heal within a couple of days, it is important to have a physician examine the injury to avoid infections.
This type of injury means your iris is inflamed. Your eye color is determined by your iris, which is a thin, circular structure which controls the size of the pupil and therefore, the amount of light that reaches the retina.
With this type of injury, you will most like feel eye pain, blurred vision, and light sensitivity.
In this case, the injury will cause bleeding in the front part of your eye. The condition will typically resolve itself with a week or two. However, you should seek medical attention, because this type of injury could lead to other more serious conditions such as glaucoma.
This type of injury causes damage to the fluid drainage system of the eye. If the injury is severe enough, it could lead to glaucoma; therefore, it requires medical attention.
Retinal Tear or Retinal Detachment
Luckily this type of injury is rare. However, you could be at risk of suffering a retinal tear or detachment for up to a year after the initial injury.
Symptoms of retinal tear or detachment include seeing:
- flashing lights
- Floaters or little dark sports
- Feeling as if you see through a curtain
If you experience any of these symptoms, you need to see a doctor right away.
How to Prevent Sports-Related Eye Injuries
Close to 90% of sports-related eye injuries can be prevented simply by using the correct protective eyewear.
These tips can help safeguard your eyesight:
- Wear the Right Eye Protection: When it comes to protective eyewear always choose protection with shatterproof polycarbonate lenses
- Wear Helmets: For sports like baseball, lacrosse, and ice hockey you should wear a helmet with a polycarbonate face mask or wire shield
- Replace Your Old Gear: Throw away your old protective eyewear when it becomes damaged or yellowed with age
- Get Prescription Eye Protection: If you wear prescription lenses, you should know your regular glasses are not safe to wear when playing sports. Speak to your eye doctor about getting fit for prescription eye protection
- Padding is Best: Protective eyewear with cushioning or padding around the brow and bridge of the nose will help prevent cuts should you get hit in the face or fall
Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.
When to Go to the ER
You should come to the nearest Altus Emergency Center after you suffer a sports-related eye injury when:
- There is any noticeable change in your eyesight
- Severe swelling in the eye
- You have double vision
- You have severe eye pain
- You have a torn eyelid or cut around the eye
- You experience a deep ache around the injured eye or brow
- You develop a headache
At Altus Emergency Centers, we always encourage our friends and neighbors to practice sports. However, we also advise that you take all the precautions and follow the safety guides to ensure you don’t get injured.
However, in the event of an accident, we are here for you and your loved ones. We never close, not even on holidays. Additionally, we employ the best emergency doctors and nurses and offer minimal wait times, so you can go home and recuperate faster.
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