Sports-related eye injuries are surprisingly common. According to a 2016 study conducted by researchers at John Hopkins University, Harvard, and other institutions, approximately 30,000 sports-related eye injuries are treated at emergency rooms each year. (Other studies are less optimistic, placing the estimate at around 100,000 sports-related eye injuries per year.)
While many of these eye injuries are not serious, some of them result in long-term complications or even blindness. The vast majority also occur in children.
For this reason, it’s vital to protect your eyes – and your children’s eyes – while playing sports.
Which sports are the most dangerous?
According to the researchers, the sport most likely to result in eye injuries was basketball – specifically, eye injuries from this sport made up more than a quarter of emergency room visits each year.
Both baseball and softball took the dubious honor of second place, followed by air guns, but only for boys. Cycling with another common culprit, as well as soccer for girls.
How do you protect your eyes?
The best way to protect your eyes is to wear protective gear, particularly during sports with a high incidence of eye injuries.
“If you’re dealing with projectiles or fast-moving objects, protective eyewear is definitely worthwhile” said the lead author of the study, Dr. R. Sterling Haring, in an interview with the New York Times. Dr. Haring is a doctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins and the University of Lugano in Switzerland.
Individuals who play baseball, softball, ice hockey and lacrosse may benefit from helmets with polycarbonate facemasks or wire shields. People who play racquet sports, soccer, field hockey or baseball can protect their eyes by wearing protective glasses made from polycarbonate.
For more information on how you can protect your eyes – and your vision – contact us at Intermountain Eye Center and set up a comprehensive eye examination.