Most sports come with their standard protection equipment. Soccer players wear shin pads and hockey players have a full protective uniform. But many players forget to protect one of their most important assets… Their eyes! Sports are among the leading cause of eye injuries and since eyesight is such an essential part of life (and sports!), it’s a good idea to prevent any possible eye injuries.
There are several different kinds of common eye injuries, and multiple styles of protective eyewear that can help keep eyes in top shape, so read on as we cover them!
Types of Sports-Related Eye Injuries
Regardless of what kind of sport you are facing, the possibility of eye injury is present. From flying elbows to flying balls, there are many dangers in any sport.
There are 5 common eye injuries including:
Did you know? Our optometrists can give you tips on how to protect your eyes during sport and physical activity? From proper eye protection to useful tips to avoid injury, trust the experts!
Blunt Eye Trauma
Taking a ball or an errant elbow is the most common cause of an eye injury in sports. Sudden impacts like these can result in black eyes or bruises, or more severe injuries like a detached retina, ruptured eyeball or even an orbital fracture (a break in the bone that sits behind the eye).
While often minor, getting something in your eye can easily result in scratches on your eyeball, which is called a corneal abrasion. Getting poked in the eye by another player or having a piece of dust get in your eye while trying to slide into a base in baseball are a couple common causes of corneal abrasion.
Penetrating Eye Injuries
A penetrating eye injury happens when something pokes or cuts into your eye. While not too common, these kinds of injuries can result in permanent damage like vision loss, so it is particularly important to prevent against this possibility. Some causes of a penetrating eye injury include broken glasses, another players finger, any flying debris on the field or even someone’s broken equipment.
Radiation Eye Injury
More commonly thought of as a sunburn, UV radiation can do a fair amount of damage to eyes. Athletes who play water and snow sports are particularly at risk thanks to the ability of snow and water to reflect the suns rays directly into a player’s eyes. Sunglasses and UV protective goggles can reduce the risk of vision damage or loss.
While generally uncommon, the possibility of getting some of the powder used in drawing lines on a field in the eye is a very real threat to athletes. The chemicals present in the powder and paint used for drawing lines on playing fields can quickly lead to irritation, burning or tearing, and in the most extreme instances possibly even vision loss.
See your eye doctor immediately
If you suspect any of these issues during or after a game and have applied first aid treatment, it is essential to get in for an eye exam as quickly as possible. Often your eye doctor will help you treat the injury and possibly head off any long-term damage. In the event that there is something in the eye that is causing trouble, your eye doctor will be able to help remove the irritant and get back out on that field in no time.
Wear proper eye protection
The best way to prevent against any of the eye injuries we mentioned above is to wear appropriate eye protection. The recommended protection can change depending on what sport is being played, and the best way to decide which will work the best is to talk to your eye doctor.
Eyewear like sunglasses, safety glasses and goggles can help prevent most instances of sports related eye injuries. The easiest way to ensure your player chooses the right eyewear for the sport he is playing is to talk to their coach and their eye doctor. Together you can put together an effective eye protection plan that will keep their eyesight at the top of its game.
See your optometrist regularly
While visiting your optometrist is a healthy part of life anyways, when you play sports it’s even more important to get in for an appointment each year. Your eye doctor can help you choose the right eye protection for the sport you are playing, and getting a regular eye exam can help you stay ahead of any potential issues that might be getting exacerbated by whatever sport you are playing.