Health Beat with Dr. Alicia Arnold: Sports eye injuries

(WEAU) - April is sports eye safety awareness month. Dr. Alicia Arnold shared some tips for keeping our eyes and our kids' eyes safe.

CE: How commonly do sports-related eye injuries occur?

AA: It is estimated that over 100,000 eye injuries per year are sports related and many result in permanent loss of vision. Eye injuries are so common that an ER in our country treats an eye injury about every 13 minutes. The encouraging news is that about 90 percent of serious injuries are preventable by wearing appropriate eye protection.

CE: Are young people particularly susceptible?

AA: Yes, the majority of all eye injuries occur in people under 30 years of age. One third of sports-related eye injuries involve children.

CE: Which sports are considered riskier for eye injury?

AA: Baseball, basketball, hockey, and racquet sports, as well as full contact martial arts and boxing have significant rates of injury. Baseball injuries tend to be especially common in children under 14 and then basketball becomes the most common in the later teen years into the early twenties. Fishing is another sport where we see eye injuries.

CE: What kind of eye protection is recommended?

AA: The American Society for Testing and Materials has established protective eyewear standards for specific sports. Protective eyewear is usually made of polycarbonate lenses. It is very impact resistant and doesn't reduce vision. Sporting goods stores commonly carry protective eyewear. One common misconception is that ordinary sunglasses or prescription glasses will provide adequate protection.

CE: What are some tips if someone or their child does sustain an eye injury?

AA: The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends against touching, rubbing, or applying pressure to the eye. They caution not to try to remove any objects stuck in your eye. It's important to remember that even a light blow to the eye can cause significant damage and injury may not immediately be obvious. Delaying treatment could cause the condition to worsen, so it's best to have it examined by your healthcare provider.

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