The Importance of Eye Safety when playing Sports

If you’ve sustained an eye injury while playing a sport, you probably know that they’re no fun. They can cause pain and affect your vision, sometimes causing lasting damage.

That’s why it’s important to protect your eyes while playing sports. This goes for adults as well as children. Though children experience high rates of sports eye injuries, an estimated 72% of sports eye injuries occur in people ages 25 and younger.

Keep reading to learn more about common sports eye injuries and the best ways to prevent them.

What are sports eye injuries?

Sports eye injuries are, well, injuries to the eye caused by playing sports. Eye injuries are more frequent in sports where you are more likely to be hit in the eye with something, including baseball, hockey, fencing, boxing, and basketball.

These injuries are unfortunately quite common; for example, it’s estimated that every 13 minutes, someone visits an emergency room with a sports eye injury. 

There are three general types of sports eye injuries.

Blunt force injuries 

We’re probably all familiar with a black eye, which is often the result of bleeding behind the skin and bruising from blunt force trauma. Taking a ball, elbow, or fist to the eye is sure to cause this kind of injury. 

Corneal abrasions

The cornea, which surrounds the eye, is susceptible to damage during sports as well. A finger to the eye is likely to cause this kind of injury while playing sports. 

Penetration injuries

Penetration injuries are caused by a foreign object entering the eye and causing damage. These are more serious types of sports eye injury.

If you think you’re experiencing the signs of a sports eye injury, it’s important to seek prompt treatment from an eye care professional to prevent long-term damage. You should avoid returning to a sport until an eye care professional has cleared you to play.  

Why is eye safety important during sports?

In addition to the immediate damage caused to the eye, many kinds of sports eye injuries can cause lasting damage. That’s why it’s important to take every precaution to keep your eyes safe.  

How can you prevent eye injuries while playing sports?

The best way to prevent eye injuries while playing sports is to wear protective eyewear. But how do you know what kind of eyewear is right?

Polycarbonate lenses are often recommended while playing sports. These types of lenses tend to be more durable than a traditional eyeglass lenses. This is important because eyewear with a traditional lens can pose just as much a threat to the eye as playing the sport itself. Regular eyeglasses can easily shatter and cause a penetrating eye injury.

The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) recommends different types of eyewear for different sports, so consider starting there. 

Illinois Eye Center (IEC) also offers several options for protective eyewear to meet a range of needs. Schedule an appointment with the eye care specialists at IEC today to find protective wear that works for you. 

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