Basketball, Baseball and Air/Paintball Guns Top the List of Leading Causes of Eye Injuries

The South Carolina Society of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Ophthalmology offer guidance on how to protect sight during Sports Eye Safety Month in April

Columbia, SC – April 2018 – More than 40 percent of eye injuries that occur every year are related to sports or recreational activities. A recent study found that about 30,000 people in the U.S. went to an emergency department with a sports-related eye injury, a substantially higher estimate than previously reported. Three sports accounted for almost half of all injuries: basketball, baseball and air/paintball guns.

Basketball was the leading cause of injury in males, followed by baseball/softball, and air/paintball guns. Baseball or softball was the leading cause among females, followed by cycling and soccer. In support of Sports Eye Safety Month in April, the South Carolina Society of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Ophthalmology are offering athletes of all ages guidance on how to protect their eyes.

Sports-related injuries can range from corneal abrasions and bruises on the lids to more serious, vision-threatening internal injuries, such as a retinal detachment and internal bleeding. About one-third of sports related eye injuries happen to kids.

The good news is that simply wearing protective eyewear can prevent about 90 percent of eye injuries. Follow these tips to save your vision:

• Wear the right eye protection: For basketball, racquet sports, soccer and field hockey, wear protection with shatterproof polycarbonate lenses.
• Put your helmet on: For baseball, ice hockey and lacrosse, wear a helmet with a polycarbonate face mask or wire shield.
• Know the standards: Choose eye protection that meets American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. See the Academy’s protective eyewear webpage for more details.
• Throw out old gear: Eye protection should be replaced when damaged or yellowed with age. Wear and tear may cause them to become weak and lose effectiveness.
• Glasses won’t cut it: Regular prescription glasses may shatter when hit by flying objects. If you wear glasses, try sports goggles on top to protect your eyes and your frames.

“Virtually all sports eye injuries could be prevented by wearing proper eye protection,” said ophthalmologist Dianna L. Seldomridge, M.D., clinical spokesperson for the Academy. “That’s why I always strongly encourage athletes to protect their eyes when participating in competitive sports.”

Anyone who experiences a sports eye injury should immediately visit an ophthalmologist, a physician specializing in medical and surgical eye care.

For more information on sports eye safety, see the American Academy of Ophthalmology's EyeSmart® website at www.eyesmart.org.

About the South Carolina Society of Ophthalmology
The South Carolina Society of Ophthalmology (“SCSO”) is one of the nation’s most recognized and nationally acclaimed State Eye Societies comprised of Eye Physicians and Surgeons specializing in the medical eye practice area of ophthalmology. The South Carolina Society has been recognized repeatedly for its Patient Advocacy programs and its State Physician Leadership, and its Executive Director has received multiple National Awards of Excellence from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
The current president of the SCSO is Joseph R. Bishop, III, MD. Blake Myers, MD, of Jervey Eye Group serves as Chairman of the Legislative Committee and the Fellows Council with Malcom Edwards, MD, of Lancaster Eye serving as Secretary -Treasurer. John Wells, MD, of Palmetto Retina serves as Public Information Chair with Kurt Heitman serving as the national chair of the AAO State Affairs Committee and Todd Gwin, MD of Spartanburg serving as the State Councilor. Ron Scott, JD, MBA, M. Acct., serves as the Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer.

About the American Academy of Ophthalmology
The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. A global community of 32,000 medical doctors, we protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public. We innovate to advance our profession and to ensure the delivery of the highest-quality eye care. Our EyeSmart® program provides the public with the most trusted information about eye health. For more information, visit www.aao.org.