PSA: Sports-Related Eye Injuries Are Usually Preventable

When you suit up to play your game, do you also remember to put on your protective eyewear? If so, you’re among the minority, according to the pros at Colorado Ophthalmology Associates of Denver, CO. Sports-related eye injuries are extremely common, and the most serious end up in the ER. But many, if not all, of these eye injuries are preventable.

How huge is this?

Eye injuries sustained during sports can range from minor to extremely serious conditions. A few examples include corneal abrasions, bruises on the lids, vision-threatening internal injuries, retinal detachment, and internal bleeding such as hyphema.1 When you consider that in an instant, your life could be drastically changed, this is an easily preventable health issue.

What are the stats?

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, over 30,000 sports-related eye injuries are treated each year in the ER. These eye injuries vary from minor bruises and abrasions to vision loss injuries.2

Another way of looking at it is – every 13 minutes, an ER treats a sports-related eye injury. 43% of these eye injuries are to children ages 14 and younger.3

Of all the sports, basketball causes the most eye injuries in the United States. Fingers and elbows are notorious for inflicting damage, as well as blows to the eye. One in 10 basketball players receive an eye injury.4 The second most dangerous sport for eye health is baseball. Boxing and martial arts present a very high risk of serious eye injuries and there is no protective eyewear that is appropriate for these sports.2

When you consider that 90% of all eye injuries that occur during sports can be prevented with protective eyewear, it makes those statistics even more tragic.2 Especially when you consider that only 15% of children and 33% of adults consistently wear protective eyewear during sports.3

What about corrective lenses?

Glasses and contacts offer no protection from sports-related eye injuries. In fact, eyeglasses can potentially shatter. Sunglasses offer zero protection as well. If you need corrective lenses for sports, talk to your ophthalmologist about your options for prescription protective wear. UV-treated eyewear is also an option for sunlight protection.

What do I need to get?

Polycarbonate lenses provide 10 times the impact resistance as other materials.4 Let’s consider some of the recommended eye protection for each individual sport.6

  • For skiing and snowboarding – ASTM F659
  • For football – ASTM D1003 and other ASTM-approved clear visor attached to helmet
  • For ice hockey – ASTM F513 or F1587 (goalies); face mask attached to helmet
  • For baseball/softball/field hockey/lacrosse/soccer/basketball – ASTM F803 or F910; goggles or face mask
  • For baseball – ASTM F803 or F910; face mask attached to batting helmet
  • For lacrosse – ASTM F803 or F910 face mask attached to helmet or goggles
  • For paintball – ASTM F1776; face mask
  • For airsoft – ASTM F2879; face mask
  • For pickleball – ASTM F3164
  • For shooting/archery – ASTM F803
  • For BMX/motorcross/mountain biking – ASTM F1952 face mask attached to helmet

Emergency Action

If you or your child gets hit in the eye during sports, do not apply pressure to the eye. Gently cover with a clean, cool cloth. Do not remove any foreign objects, apply any medication, or rinse with water (unless it is a chemical splash). Do not take any medication or eye drops.5 Come into Colorado Ophthalmology Associates for an emergency examination.

Get a consultation today

Whether you’re a weekend warrior athlete or a competitive athlete, call today at one of our two Colorado locations in Denver or Lakewood to get an evaluation of your protective eyewear options. Don’t become a statistic. Protect your vision for many more games ahead.

            Denver: 303-320-1777

            Lakewood: 303-989-2023







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