Prevent Sports Related Eye Injuries

people playing tennis in tropicsApril is Sports Eye Safety awareness month. Each year in the United States, more than 100,000 eye injuries are estimated to be sports-related, according to the National Eye Institute. Eye injuries are a leading cause of blindness in children and most eye injuries among kids aged 11 to 14 occur while playing sports. Every 13 minutes, an emergency room in the United States treats a sports-related eye injury. With statistics like these, raising awareness about how to prevent sports-related injuries is crucial.

Here are some important facts to know and tips to prevent sports-related eye injuries:

1. Eye exams are strongly encouraged for all athletes.

Annual eye exams are essential for everyone and may detect early signs of eye conditions.

2. Use proper protective eyewear.

Regular glasses do not offer proper protection. Athletes should wear protective eyewear made of ultra-strong polycarbonate, which is 10 times more impact resistant than other plastics and does not reduce vision. For sports such as basketball and soccer, sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses should be worn. A helmet with a polycarbonate face mask or wire shield should be worn at all times for sports such as lacrosse, hockey and baseball.

3. Different sports pose different eye safety risks.

Learn the risk factor of your favorite sport before you play. Baseball/softball, ice hockey, racquet sports, basketball, fencing, lacrosse, paintball and boxing are all at high risk for eye injuries.

4. Parents, coaches and eye-care providers should take action.

They all play an important role in encouraging the use of proper eye protection for all athletes, not just for those who already wear glasses or contact lenses. Eye protection is not always a requirement, so it is important to reassure athletes to wear safety glasses or goggles whenever they play.

5. Avoid high-risk sports if your vision is already impaired.

Consider the risk of injuring the stronger eye before playing a high-risk sport and consult your eye care provider prior to playing.

Source: Florida Today