The American Academy of Ophthalmology has designated April Sports Eye Safety Month. They have done this to draw attention to the importance of keeping your eyes safe while playing.
Sports are an essential part of most cultures and are a fantastic way to get some exercise, have fun, and blow off steam.
But, sports carry an inherent risk of injury. Almost 40,000 eye injuries occur each year as a result of playing sports.
While sports injuries conjure images of broken bones or concussions, don’t overlook eye injuries. They can often be the most damaging and challenging to treat.
Keep reading to learn more about safe eyes while playing and sports safety month.
Common Eye Injuries and How To Treat Them
Basketball is one of the leading causes of eye-related injuries in sports. Eye injuries cost the NBA around 2.4 million dollars on average.
Baseball, hockey, and airsoft rifles are also leading contributors to eye-related sports injuries. Recently as MMA has grown in popularity, combat sports have contributed more to the eye injury statistics.
Common injuries from sports include:
Corneal abrasion is a scratch to the surface of the cornea. It causes pain in the eye and light sensitivity. You treat corneal abrasions with an antibiotic ointment applied directly to the eye.
Eye doctors typically require a 24-hour follow-up, but most patients fully recover within days.
A globe rupture is a rupture in the structure of the eyeball. Common causes are penetration of the eye or blunt force trauma that increases pressure inside the eye to the point of rupture.
Globe ruptures can cause eye deformity, pain, and instant vision loss. Immediate treatment may save vision.
Typically a rupture requires surgical intervention, and in some cases, patients have to take medication to prevent vomiting. Vomiting can increase the pressure further, which makes the damage worse.
The retina is the light-sensitive tissue inside the eye. It can detach from the eye’s interior wall, which causes blindness, pain, and flashes of light.
Immediate surgery may be necessary to save your vision. Also, pressure can worsen retinal detachments, so patients should avoid rubbing their eyes.
Retrobulbar hematoma is damage to the arteries inside your eye. Bleeding inside the eye can lead to hemorrhaging, which can cause a spike in internal eye pressure.
Too much pressure inside your eye can lead to vision loss. Generally, it causes eye pain and eyelids that feel tight.
You must treat retrobulbar hematoma with emergency surgery. You must have surgery within two hours of the injury to prevent permanent damage.
Eye Injury Prevention
As long as the injury isn’t too severe and you seek treatment immediately, most eye injuries are not too harmful. But, it is never a guarantee that your vision will make it.
That’s why preventing eye injuries from occurring in the first place is far superior. The easiest way to prevent eye injuries is to wear appropriate protective equipment.
Here are some simple pieces of protective equipment to prevent common sports eye injuries:
- Catcher’s masks are crucial in baseball as they come into the direct line of fire.
- Protective face shields in hockey to stop pucks and sticks from hitting their faces.
- Airsoft and paintball players should only enter the field with goggles or face masks on.
In general, it is best to cover your face as much as possible when playing sports.
All the prevention techniques in the world won’t stop accidents from happening. But they will reduce the likelihood of them happening to you.
Schedule an appointment with Vision Care of Maine in Bangor, ME, to discuss eye protection for your favorite sport with your eye doctor.