Sports-Related Eye Injuries
Since September is Sports Eye Injury Prevention Awareness Month, THE DOCS wanted to answer some of your questions about eye injuries caused by participation in sporting events.
1. My child will be participating in school sports this year. Do we need to worry about eye injuries?
According to Liberty Sport, more than 600,000 eye injuries related to sports and recreation occur each year. Of these injuries, 42,000 are of a severity that requires Emergency Room attention. The highest rate of injury occurs in children between the ages of 5 to 14. The doctors at Memphis Family Vision & SEE Main Street strongly recommend that patients participating in athletic events wear protective eyewear.
2. If I wear glasses on a regular basis, will that prevent an eye injury?
Actually, sports participants that wear corrective eyewear or sunwear are at a higher risk of eye injury than participants using no eye protection at all. The lens could pop out and cut the eye, or the frame itself could cause injury.
3. What should I look for when purchasing sports eyewear?
The frame you buy should be labeled as protective eyewear for sports use, such as Rec Specs. The lenses should be polycarbonate lenses at least 2.0 mm thick. You often see notification that the eyewear is certified ASTM F803 to maximize impact resistance.
4. Which sports have the highest risk of eye injury?
According to Liberty Sport, the following sports are considered a high-to-moderate risk of eye injury: Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Lacrosse, Hockey, Tennis, Soccer, Volleyball, Water Polo, Football, Air Rifle, BB Gun, Paintball, Boxing, Martial Arts, Cricket, Squash, Racquetball, Fencing, Badminton, Fishing and Golf. Please note the chart below that breaks down eye injuries by category and age.
5. What about Contact Lenses as protection, since the cornea is covered by the lens?
No contact lens, whether hard or soft, can protect against an eye injury. Impact to the eye can actually cause an increased chance for injury in contact lens wearers because the lens can dislodge or fold over. Besides, many injuries are caused by blunt trauma, like being hit by a stick or a ball, which won’t be prevented by wearing a contact lens.
6. If I wear a protective helmet or faceguard, won’t that protect against injury to the eye?
Fingers and sports equipment can still penetrate the opening of the facemask. In addition, a helmet can be knocked off, which will leave you completely vulnerable to injury.
7. If I get a minor eye injury, should I be worried?
Seemingly minor eye injuries can actually cause major problems. You should check with your eye doctor if you or your child has an eye injury. If the injury causes loss of vision, severe pain or tenderness, or a cut around the eye, you should seek medical attention.
Memphis Family Vision and SEE Main Street have a nice selection of protective sports eyewear, both prescription and non-prescription, in a variety of styles, shapes and colors.