Sports Eye Safety

From major league stadiums

to small-town courts, America’s favorite pastimes make great memories for many. But for more than 42,000 athletes, those memories are ruined by eye injuries, the vast majority of which were preventable.

Injuries range from abrasions of the cornea and bruises of the eyelids to internal eye injuries, such as retinal detachments and internal bleeding. Many of these injuries lead to vision loss and permanent blindness.

The thousands of eye injuries each year aren’t only from basketball, baseball, football and hockey. Soccer, tennis, golf and water sports are also dangerous to the eyes. Each activity has its own specific protective eyewear, so when selecting eyewear make sure it is appropriate for your sport.

Today’s athletes can choose from various types of sturdy, lightweight and effective eyewear. When properly fitted, eyewear does not hinder performance and can prevent 90 percent of sports eye injuries.


So when participating in sports, be sure to:

• Select protective eyewear that is appropriate for the sport

• Be sure eyewear has polycarbonate lenses or shields

• Have eyewear properly fitted by an eye care professional


Eye Safety for Children

Accidents resulting in eye injuries can happen to anyone. More than half of all eye injuries occur in people under the age of 25. Of the 100,000 eye injuries that occur annually, 40 percent occur during sports or recreational activities. In the 5-14 age group, baseball is the number one cause of sports-related injuries. In the 15-24 age group, basketball is the most common cause of eye injuries, with injuries caused by contact with fingers and elbows. Perhaps the most startling statistic is that 90 percent of all eye injuries could be prevented.

It is important for parents to familiarize themselves with potentially dangerous situations at home and in school and to insist that their children use protective eyewear when participating in sports or other hazardous activities.


Eye Safety at Home and in the Yard

To provide the safest environment for your children, select games and toys that are appropriate for their age and responsibility level.

Provide adequate supervision and instruction when your children handle potentially dangerous items, such as pencils, scissors, forks and penknives. Be aware that even common household items such as paper clips, bungee cords, wire coat hangers, rubber bands and fishhooks can cause serious eye injury. Avoid projectile toys such as darts, bows and arrows, and missile firing toys. Do not allow your children to play with non-powder rifles, pellet guns or BB guns. They are extremely dangerous and have been reclassified as firearms and removed from toy departments.

Keep all chemicals and sprays such as sink cleaners or oven cleaners out of reach of small children. Do not allow children to ignite fireworks or stand near others who are doing so. All fireworks are potentially dangerous for children of all ages.

Do not allow children in the yard while a lawnmower is in use. Stones and debris thrown from moving blades can cause severe eye injuries.

Demonstrate the use of appropriate protective eyewear to children by always wearing protective eyewear yourself while using power tools, rotary mowers, line lawn trimmers, or while hammering. Children will learn by your example.

Whatever your game, whatever your age, you need to protect your eyes. See your eye care professional today for appropriate protective eyewear.

When an Injury Does Occur

It is always best to have an ophthal- mologist examine the eyes as soon as possible when an injury does oc- cur. The seriousness of an eye injury may not be immediately obvious.

Jacqueline D. Griffiths M.D.

Jacqueline D. Griffiths M.D.

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