How to Prevent and Treat Sports Eye Injuries
Different activities and sports have different levels of risk for eye injury. Make sure that you’re using the right kind of eye protection for each activity. Regular eyeglasses do not offer proper eye protection and in some cases can make an injury worse if they shatter.
Be careful during activities or games involving projectiles and other sharp objects that could create injury if in contact with the eye.
If you have an eye injury go to the emergency room immediately, even if the injury appears minor. Delaying medical attention can result in permanent vision loss or blindness.
Take the following steps to avoid sports eye injuries:
- Wear proper safety goggles (lensed polycarbonate protectors) for racquet sports or basketball. In order to be assured that your eyes are protected, it is important that any eye guard or sports protective eyewear are labeled as ASTM F803 approved. This eyewear is performance tested to give you the highest levels of protection.
- Use batting helmets with polycarbonate face shields for youth baseball.
- Use helmets and face shields approved by the U.S. Amateur Hockey Association when playing hockey.
- Know that regular glasses don’t provide enough protection
If You Get Hit in the Eye:
- Gently apply a small cold compress to reduce pain and swelling.
- Don’t use steaks or other food items. These can get bacteria into the eye.
- DO NOT apply any pressure.
- If a black eye, pain or visual disturbance occurs even after a light blow, immediately contact your ophthalmologist or emergency room. Even a light blow can cause a significant eye injury, like a retinal detachment.
Eye injuries can cause vision loss or blindness. That’s why having an ophthalmologist or other medical doctor examine the eye as soon as possible is important, even if the injury seems minor at first. DO NOT attempt to treat a serious eye injury yourself.
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