September is Sports-Related Eye Injury Awareness month. Sports related eye injuries are a common problem. These occur most frequently in basketball, and baseball, paintball, and racquet sports where the ball size is small enough to hit the eye directly bypassing the protection of the surrounding bone.
It’s estimated that 90% of serious eye injuries are preventable with the correct sport specific eyewear protection. Polycarbonate lenses are recommended as this material is made of a reinforced plastic that is more resistant to cracking, shattering, or breaking. Fortunately, for some sports activities such as paintball where common sense tells us how dangerous it can be for the eyes, extensive protection devices have been developed and moreover the strict policies and requirements for appropriate gear has reduced the number of serious eye injuries over the past several years.
Wearing eye protection during seemingly simple hobbies can also help prevent injuries that may occur such as during mountain biking, cycling, or even jogging. Because of the long fishing rods and sharp hooks used in fishing, this activity can also cause eye injuries.
If there is an eye injury, it’s important never to rub the eye or try to remove a foreign object that may be embedded. Cover the eye without pressure or simply close the eyelid if possible and get to the emergency room as quickly as possible.