Among the common sports-related eye injuries ophthalmologists routinely treat are corneal abrasions, bruising around the eye, retinal detachments, and internal bleeding.
Here are some safety tips for all athletes to practice:
- Check and follow sport specific requirements and standards regarding eye protection
- Consider replacing eyewear once yellowed or damaged to ensure the best protection
- For basketball, racquet sports, soccer and field hockey, wear protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses
- For snow or water sports, consider eyewear with UV protection to avoid sunburn or glare
- Athletes who wear contacts or glasses should still wear eye protection; contacts and regular eyeglasses are not replacements for protective sports eyewear
Protective gear to prevent eye injuries during sports
ASTM sets the standards that eye protection must meet to prevent eye injuries in your sport. We have listed some eye-safety standards by sport below. This is not a comprehensive list.
- ASTM F803: Eye protectors for selected sports (racket sports, women’s lacrosse [see the U.S. Lacrosse website for more details], field hockey, baseball, basketball);
- ASTM F513: Eye and face protective equipment for hockey players;
- ASTM F1776: Eye protectors for use by players of paintball sports;
- ASTM F2879: Eye protectors for use by players of airsoft sports;
- ASTM F1587: Head and face protective equipment for ice hockey goaltenders;
- ASTM F910: Face guards for youth baseball; and
- ASTM F659: High-impact resistant eye protective devices for Alpine skiing.
Wear protective glasses or goggles with UV protection when snow or water skiing. They will help shield your eyes from sunburn and glare.
If you experience an eye injury, seek medical attention immediately, even if the injury seems minor; sometimes noticeable symptoms develop later.
Contact an eye doctor for eye injuries
An ophthalmologist, primary care doctor, school nurse or children’s health service should examine the eye as soon as possible, even if the injury seems minor at first, as a serious injury is not always immediately obvious. Delaying medical attention can cause the damaged areas to worsen and could result in permanent vision loss or blindness.
While seeking medical help, care for the child as follows:
- DO NOT touch, rub or apply pressure to the eye.
- DO NOT try to remove any object stuck in the eye. For small debris, lift eye lid and ask child to blink rapidly to see if tears will flush out the particle. If not, close the eye and seek treatment.
- Do not apply ointment or medication to the eye.
- A cut or puncture wound should be gently covered.
- Only in the event of chemical exposure, flush with plenty of water.