Children playing soccer

April is Sports Eye Safety Month as recognized by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Sports safety is important to prevent a variety of injuries.

Protecting your eyes can often go overlooked. Eye injuries are actually pretty common in sports, especially among children and adolescents.

This makes it especially important to make sure that your child practices proper eye safety when they play any sports. Keep reading to find out why sports eye safety is so important!

Most Common Injuries

You may be surprised to find which sports have the highest incidence of eye injuries. It’s not surprising that sports that involve projectiles like archery or darts have the third-highest rate of eye injury.

But number two and number one are basketball and pool/water sports, respectively. It does make sense that many eye injuries in sports happen in the pool.

Inadequate eye protection can harm your eyes while swimming as you become exposed to high levels of chlorine. The good news is, most eye injuries in sports are completely preventable with proper equipment.

Safety Equipment

You’re probably aware of face guards and goggles for certain sports. For example, swimmers should wear goggles.

They should also be sure that these goggles are functional and create enough suction. Having enough suction is how they prevent water from leaking in.

Other sports players should wear safety goggles and face guards for sports you may not associate with such equipment. Softball and baseball players should wear helmet-mounted faceguards. Basketball, soccer, and tennis players should wear sports eye guards in the form of goggles or spectacles.

It may seem overly cautious to wear protective gear for some of these sports, but it can save you from severe injury and even blindness.

First Aid

Besides being knowledgeable about proper safety equipment, you should also know the basics of first aid when it comes to eye injuries. Be sure to have a first aid kit on hand that contains a rigid eye shield and eyewash.

If you have a child who participates in a sport, be sure that the adults in charge of the team have a well-stocked first aid kit.

For minor injuries, like specks in the eye, use eyewash from a first aid kit if tears do not flush out the specks. Do not rub the eye or try to remove the debris with tweezers. If they do not come out with an eyewash, seek a doctor.

When To Seek Emergency Care

If a traumatic eye injury should occur, be prepared. If the injury is a blunt force, simply apply a cold compress to the eye.

Seek emergency care if the eye begins to bulge, is bleeding, or is in any way discolored or in pain.

If the eye injury involves a cut or puncture to the eye, cover the eye with a rigid eye shield without applying pressure to the eye. If there is an object in the eye, do not touch or attempt to remove it.

Do not try to wash the eye. Use a paper cup to cover the eye if the eye shield won’t fit over the lodged object. Seek emergency care immediately while keeping the eye covered.

Concerned about sports eye injuries? Schedule an appointment at Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, ME to discuss your options!