Take Steps to Prevent Injuries to Your Eyes

Recognizing September as Sports and Home Eye Safety Month

Sports - Eye, Dental Concerns

Every day Americans sustain injuries to their eyes, at home, on the job, or during sports activities. Of the 1.6 to 2.4 million individuals who experience eye injuries, an estimated 40,000 will be legally blind in the injured eye. Surprisingly, 90 percent of these injuries could have been prevented if protective eyewear had been worn.

Wearing protective eyewear is easy to do, but many people consider it a hassle.

Only 35 percent of the people surveyed by American Academy of Ophthalmology said they always wear protective eyewear when performing home repairs or maintenance; even fewer do so when playing sports. If you’re like me, you may have to buy the appropriate eyewear and then store it where you can easily find it.

Consider these statistics from the National Eye Institute:

  • Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in the United States.
  • Every 13 minutes, an emergency room in the U.S. treats a sports-related eye injury.
  • Approximately 27 percent of all eye injuries in children aged 11 to 14 are sports-related.
  • Children under age 15 account for 43 percent of sports and recreational injuries. Most commonly, eye injuries occur during baseball, ice hockey, and racquet sports.
  • Basketball players aged 15 to 24 have a one in ten chance of experiencing an eye injury.
  • Nearly half (44.7 percent) of all eye injuries occur in the home while individuals are engaged in home repairs, yard work, cleaning, or cooking.
  • When people participate in outdoor activities in the snow or on the water, ultraviolet light radiation from the sun can damage eyes. Researchers have found that repeated exposure to ultraviolet sun light can lead to problems as individuals age, including the development of cataracts and macular degeneration – the leading causes of vision loss among older Americans.

While most sports-related eye injuries are not severe in nature – a scratch from a fingernail during a game or an elbow to the eye resulting in a black eye – it’s important to take the necessary precautions to avoid serious eye injuries.

Symptoms of severe eye injuries are not always apparent, so individuals experiencing eye trauma should seek emergency care or an examination from an ophthalmologist. The warning signs of potentially serious eye injuries include:

  • Vision loss
  • Bleeding on the surface or inside the eye
  • Tears in the outer ocular walls
  • A foreign object inside the eye

Don’t take chances with your eyesight – wear eye protection when you’re in the sun, playing sports, or doing anything that might endanger your eyes.

Have you experienced an eye injury? What was the cause, and did you require treatment? Are you now more prone to wearing protective eyewear to prevent future injuries?  Share your feedback and I’ll post it in a future blog. –Scott