Most Common Types Of Sports-Related Eye Injuries

Dr. Jim Martin 09/06/2016

kids-baseball-game.pngStudies show that over half of the U.S. population is involved in some sort of sport or physical fitness-related activity. Clearly, we love sports in this country, whether we're weekend warriors, participants in children's youth leagues, or serious athletes competing at a high level.

But studies also show that sports cause nearly 40,000 eye injuries each year, which emphasizes the fact that wearing the proper protection while we're active are vital for our eye health. Moreover, most sports-related eye injuries can be prevented.

What Are The Most Common Sports-Related Eye Injuries?

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, baseball and basketball cause the most injuries, followed by water and racquet sports. Most eye injuries occur in persons under 30 years of age. Children are particularly vulnerable because their full depth perception hasn't developed and they may have problems judging the flight of a ball.

Sports are classified as low risk, high risk and very high risk in terms of potential eye injuries. Generally speaking, low-risk sports don't use a ball, puck, bat, stick or racquet and don't involve body contact. Very high risk sports, like boxing, wrestling, and contact martial arts, involve body contact and don't use eye protection.

Type Of Eye Injuries

There are three types of eye injuries that can occur during sports related eye injuries.

Corneal abrasion

Corneal abrasions, which are usually painful but not severe, most often occur in sports when the outer surface of the eye is scratched by a fingernail. Basketball players often wear goggles to prevent this type of injury.

Blunt injuries

Blunt injuries, such as those caused by the impact of an object, cause a sudden compression of the eye. Milder blunt injuries can result in a black eye or bleeding of the eyelids, or a minor type of bleeding called a subconjunctival hemorrhage, none of which pose a threat to the eye. Nonetheless, all eye injuries should be examined by an ophthalmologist.

Severe blunt trauma is bleeding in the front of the eye between the cornea and colored iris. Another type of severe blunt trauma is a cut or tear of the eyelids. If you suffer a severe blunt injury, see your eyecare doctor as soon as possible.

Penetrating injuries

A penetrating injury occurs when an object pierces the eye. This type of injury can occur when a piece of glass from shattered eyewear penetrates the eye, while a common cause of this type of injury in children is from BB pellets. This type of injury is a true emergency and must be evaluated promptly.

Broome Optical is a leading provider of eye care and eyewear in the Amarillo area. Find protective sport eyewear here.

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