New research shows that about 30,000 people in the U.S. go to the emergency room each year with sports-related eye injuries. This April during Sports Eye Safety Month, Sabates Eye Centers reminds you that the right protective eyewear is the best defense against eye injury.
Three sports make up almost half of all trips to the emergency room: basketball, baseball, and air/paintball guns. Sports-related injuries can range from corneal abrasions and bruises on the lids to more serious, vision-threatening internal injuries, such as a retinal detachment and internal bleeding.
Most sports-related eye injuries are avoidable. Here are some tips to stay safe while playing any level of sports:
- Athletes should wear sports eye protection that meets requirements set by appropriate organizations.
- Parents should make sure that children wear eye protection. Those with sports-related eye injuries are mostly 18 years old or younger.
- Eye protection can weaken with age and may no longer provide adequate protection. Consider replacing when damaged or yellowed.
- For basketball, racquet sports, soccer and field hockey, wear protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses.
- Athletes who wear contacts or glasses should also wear appropriate protective eyewear. Contacts offer no protection and glasses do not provide enough defense.
- Professional athletes should also wear sports goggles that meet national standards.
Athletes often engage in seemingly safe, yet rugged, high-impact sports with no awareness about the potential risk factors. This is why eye protection is critical and can greatly reduce the number of emergency room visits treated each year.