Every 13 minutes an emergency room in the U.S. treats a sports-related eye injury. These injuries range from corneal abrasions and bruising of the eyelid to internal eye injuries such as retinal detachments and internal bleeding. The good news is that the vast majority of these injuries are easily preventable with the use of protective eyewear.
When many people think of the types of sports where protective eyewear should be used, they think of sports like hockey and football. However, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Optometric Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all strongly recommend the use of protective eyewear for participants of any sport in which there is a risk of eye injury. In other words, if there is a risk that something or someone could hit the eye while participating in the sport, protective eyewear should be worn.
Here are some tips to consider when choosing your protective eyewear:
- All sports protective eyewear should meet the impact standards of the ASTM (American Standards for Testing and Materials).
- To be effective, protective eyewear must fit the athlete properly. An optometrist can help make sure your glasses or goggles are appropriately fitted to meet your needs.
- Athletes should not use their everyday eyewear as their athletic protective eyewear. Regular glasses are not held to the same standards and the lenses on regular glasses or sunglasses can easily pop out or shatter when met with impact, potentially resulting in a laceration of abrasion of the eye.
- Lenses for athletic glasses and sunglasses should be made from polycarbonate materials since they provide the highest level of impact protection and are designed to withstand the hard impact of projectiles, such as a ball.
While your focus should primarily be on preventing eye injuries, there are a few Do’s and Don’ts you should know in case an eye injury occurs.
- Protect the eye from further damage by holding a folded cloth over the eye as a protective shield.
- Flush the eye with water if there is any small debris in it.
- Bandage any cuts around the eye to prevent contamination or infection.
- Use a cold compress to treat a blunt trauma injury such as a black eye, but be careful not to apply additional pressure.
- Do not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye
- Do not wash out the eye when dealing with cuts or punctures to the eye.
- Do not attempt to self-medicate. Avoid applying ointments or taking any medications, including over-the-counter drugs.
- Do not rub the eye. Doing so could cause more damage.
If you experience a sports-related eye injury, you should seek out the help of an eye care professional as soon as possible, because in many cases, waiting can result in further damage to the eye. To learn more please visit milaneyecenter.com or give us a call at 678-681-9834.