Sports Eye Injury Prevention Month
Don't let an eye injury affect your game!
Yes, they don't exactly come with a cool factor. They definitely don't make a fashion statement on the field. BUT...how cool do you look on the bench with an ice pack on your eye? Or worse, being treated at the ER because you caught a fly ball to the eye or were checked by an elbow or finger to the eye?
Will you be one of 40,000?
Do you sport eye protection on the field or will you be one of approximately 40,000 athletes in the United States to suffer a sports-related eye injury this year?
The good news is that 90 percent of serious eye injuries are preventable through use of appropriate protective eyewear.
Approximately one-third of eye-injury victims are children! Make sure the level of eye protection you or others in your family use is appropriate for the type of activity.
Which sports carry more risk?
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), for all age groups, sports-related eye injuries occur most frequently in baseball, basketball, and racquet sports. However, in Dr. Linn Mangano's experience, soccer has it's share of eye injuries:
"When you think of sports that need eye protection you typically think of raquetball, baseball, basketball. However, I think I've treated more soccer injuries than any other sport just due to the number of kids who participate in soccer. The percentage of "danger" may not be as high as baseball or basketball, but due to the popularity of the sport with kids, I see a lot more soccer injuries than any other sport."
Pediatric for Eye Care Specialists, Linn M. Mangano, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist, fellowship trained in pediatric ophthalmology. Click here for more information on our pediatric services.
Golf? Dangerous?? Have you ever noticed, a golf ball is about the size of an adult eye socket? The orbital bone around the eye area helps to protect the eye itself. When a ball, such as a raquetball or golf ball, is smaller than the eye socket, there is risk for a serious injury.
"Most people wouldn't consider eye protection for golf," says Dr. Mangano. "It is a leisurely sport with no physical contact. However, one of the worst sports-related eye injuries I've treated in the ER, is from a golf ball that richocheted off a tree! Unfortunately, the injury was too devastating to the eye and the patient lost his eye."
What type of eye protection should be worn?
Protective glasses or face shields are available for most sports. The best protective eyewear is a sports frame (not daily wear glasses) with polycarbonate lenses. If the player wears prescription glasses, this prescription can be placed in the lenses of sports glasses as well. Although many athletes wear contact lenses, they do not provide protection against injury.
For more information on guidelines for protective eyewear, visit:
Many patients that wear vision correction for nearsightedness, farsightedness, or an astigmatism, find wearing contacts or glasses a nuisance when playing sports. For patients 18 and older, LASIK is an excellent alternative.
Click here to learn more about ending your dependence on glasses and contacts with the iLASIK procedure by Dr. Shawn Parker. However, eye protection should still be worn after LASIK in contact sports or sports with high velocity ball action.
When should a player seek medical attention?
Even a seemingly light blow can cause a serious eye injury. Dr. Mangano recommends if there has been impact near the eye, if there are symptoms of decreased vision, sensitivity to light, pain, and visible signs of impact to the eye such as a black eye or a subconjunctival hemorrhage, the player should definitely need to be seen by a doctor.