Sports-related eye injuries are a leading cause of blindness in school-age children and are attributed to more than 31,000 eye injuries for all age groups yearly, according to a fact sheet provided by Prevent Blindness. During April, which is Sports Eye Safety Month, we recommend you remind your patients to wear proper eye protection while participating in sports, as 90 percent of these injuries can be avoided.
Since different sports pose risk of different types of serious eye injury, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for protective eye wear. It’s important that patients (or their parents) are aware of the risk of eye injury their chosen sport exposes them to, as well as what type of safety equipment works best to prevent injuries.
Baseball, basketball, contact sports and racquet sports are the most likely to cause sports-related eye injuries across all age groups. However, injuries can occur in more sedentary activities as well. Some tips you may want to share with your patients include:
- — For sports like baseball, football and hockey, helmets with polycarbonate shields or optional wire shields for hockey players are recommended.
- — Those who play basketball and soccer should also use protective eyewear made with polycarbonate lenses and certified as safety lenses for further protection from injury.
- — Even sedentary sports such as fishing cause large numbers of eye injuries, which can be prevented by wearing protective glasses.
- — Patients with minimal vision in one eye should be cautioned about the risks racquetball and other contact sports prone to cause eye injuries can present. Remind them that an injury to their “good” eye could cause further vision loss.
- — Remind patients that regularly wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses is not sufficient as eye protection.
- — Advise patients to seek immediate medical attention if an eye injury does occur to mitigate damage.
We would love to hear how you plan to encourage your patients to use protective eye gear when playing or participating in sports activities during Sports Eye Safety Month. Please share your ideas on the Optos Facebook page or tweet them to us @OptosMA.