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Eye Protection in Sports

How to Prevent and Treat Sports Eye Injuries

  • Different activities and sports have different levels of risk for eye injury.
  • Ensure that you’re using the right kind of eye protection for each activity.
  • Ordinary eyeglasses offer no eye protection and in some cases can make an injury worse if they shatter.
  • Be careful during activities or games involving projectiles and other sharp objects that could create injury if in contact with the eye.
  • Even if the injury seems to be minor, go to the emergency room immediately.
  • Delaying medical attention can result in permanent vision loss or blindness.

What Sports Cause Eye Injuries?

  • You can hurt your eye in any sport but some sports are more risky
  • Basketball causes most sports eye injuries in the U.S.
  • One study found that basketball was the leading cause of sports-related eye injuries in the United States followed by
  • Baseball
  • Softball
  • Airsoft rifles
  • Pellet guns
  • Racquetball
  • Hockey

What Sports Cause Eye Injuries?

  • Protective sports glasses with shatterproof plastic should be worn for sports such as
  • Basketball
  • Racquet sports
  • Soccer
  • Field hockey
  • Choose eye protectors that have been tested to meet the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards or that pass the CSA racquet sports standard

Combat sports cause blinding eye injuries

  • Boxing and full-contact martial arts pose an extremely high risk of serious and even blinding eye injuries.
  • There is no satisfactory eye protection for boxing, although thumbless gloves may reduce the number of boxing eye injuries.

Sports that require face masks or face shields for eye protection

  • In ice hockey and men’s lacrosse, wear a helmet with a polycarbonate face mask or wire shield.
  • Hockey face masks should be approved by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council or the Canadian Standards Association (CSA)

How to approach eye protection

  • If you already have reduced vision in one eye check with your ophthalmologist to discuss appropriate eye protection and whether they advise participating in any high impact or other high-risk sports.

Spectator Eye Safety at Sporting Events

  • Spectators at sporting events should also be careful.
  • Balls, bats, and players can end up in the stands at any time. Keep your eyes on the game and watch out for foul balls and flying objects.