Sports Eye Safety | Sports Eye Injury

Posted September 18, 2014


September is Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month. We asked Dr. Scott Mann to share his insights with us about sports related eye injuries and also how you can protect your eyes while enjoying athletics.


I’ve always been into sports—discussing, watching, and especially playing them! Growing up I played basketball, football and baseball. Basketball was my favorite then (playing for Lynchburg College) and college football is my favorite now. I know from my experience as an athlete that nothing can change the tone of a fun filled ball game as quickly as an injury to a player. Over the past 20+ years in practice I have treated a large number of eye injuries that stemmed from sports related activities. The injuries that I have seen encompass quite a range; everything from bruising around the eye, blowout fractures, and debris in the eye to retinal detachment and lid lacerations. Another common eye injury that I treated while serving as the Eye Doctor for the Radford University Highlanders basketball team is corneal abrasions. It is important for everyone, players and fans alike, to understand the most basic way sports related eye injuries can be prevented and the symptoms that constitute an eye injury emergency.

It is estimated that over 90% of eye injuries can be prevented by wearing protective eyewear or sports eyewear. Simply put: choosing to wear impact resistant polycarbonate lenses while playing sports has the ability to Quotetremendously reduce your chances of hurting your eyes. Full face helmets have drastically reduced eye injuries for hockey players and protective eyewear for racquetball players has also had a big impact. With advancements in materials these glasses are increasingly functional while remaining light weight and aesthetically appealing. However, the unfortunate reality is that sports eyewear is not typically used unless an injury has occurred previously.

Eye injuries will inevitably happen. There are also injuries that can’t be prevented with protective glasses, such as a retinal detachment which can occur from actions like heading a ball during soccer. Should you or a loved one experience an eye injury it is important to understand the symptoms and indicators that would lead the injury to be classified as an emergency. Eye emergency symptoms include:

  •  Flashes of light or a shower of sparks, which could indicate a retinal detachment
  • Watery or mucous discharge from the eye
  • Severe discomfort
  • Double vision
  • Any problem of sudden onset
  • Grey cloud in vision
  • Any sudden blurriness or loss of vision
  • Broken glasses with high prescription

Bearing this in mind, take the precautionary step of purchasing and consistently wearing protective eyewear while playing sports. This will reduce your risk of injury and ensure the game can go on! And please remember, if you end up with an eye injury the Invision team is ready to help diagnose your injury and get you on the road to recovery as soon as possible.

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