The Most Common Eye Injuries for Athletes
Whether it’s a youngster playing recreational league sports or a professional athlete, eye injuries are a common occurrence in many sports. From baseball and basketball to football, hockey, and numerous other sports, sustaining an eye injury can be very serious. Not only can it prevent the person from playing the sport they love, but it can in some cases have an impact on many other aspects of their lives. To learn more about the most common eye injuries for athletes and how they can be prevented, here are some important tips to keep in mind.
A very common eye injury in contact sports, blunt eye trauma occurs when one athlete comes in direct contact with another athlete or misjudges the speed or direction of an object, such as a baseball. Not only can this type of injury damage the eye, but other parts of the face as well. If the blunt trauma is minor, a person may wind up only with a black eye, which is actually bleeding under the eyelid. However, if the blunt trauma is severe, the results can be a detached retina, ruptured eyeball, or an orbital fracture, which is having broken bones around the eyeball.
Happening when broken glass or other debris penetrate the eye, these injuries can be very serious depending upon the depth of the penetration. In many cases, athletes can suffer permanent vision loss, which keeps them from playing the sport they love and also severely impacts many other parts of their life as well.
An injury that happens when the outer surface of the eye is scratched, corneal abrasions are not quite as serious as penetrating injuries or blunt trauma injuries. However, they are some of the most painful eye injuries athletes can sustain. Common injuries in baseball and basketball, these injuries can often be prevented by wearing safety glasses or goggles while participating in the sport. In most situations, corneal abrasions happen in basketball when one player’s fingernail scrapes against the eye of their opponent, or when a baseball player slides into a base and kicks up debris into their face.
Caused by prolonged exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun, radiation injuries are more common in winter than any other time. A common injury to athletes who participate in skiing, they can also happen in warmer weather to those who surf or participate in other water sports where the sun reflects off the water. However, whether the sun reflects off of snow or water, the results can be serious for athletes. Vision loss or damage to retinas are common, but with prompt treatment from medical professionals, most of these types of injuries are treated with satisfactory long-term results.
Injuries that sound very serious, chemical burns usually happen on playing fields where powders and spray paints have been used to mark yard lines, end zones, or other parts of the field. These injuries happen when the chemicals and paints are kicked up in the air and are blown into the eyes of the athletes. In cases where chemicals such as acid or alkali are present in the paint, the results can be permanent blindness. However, since most of these paints now use much milder chemicals, injuries are usually limited to eye irritation, burning, and excessive tearing. By washing the eyes with cold water or sterile saline solutions as soon as possible, athletes can usually return to the playing field within a matter of minutes.
While any of these eye injuries can be potentially very serious, the good news is that medical advances have now made it possible to help athletes minimize the damage they may sustain to their eyes. And along with this, more and more athletes now use facial protection equipment such as goggles, glasses, or face shields for their helmets in an attempt to protect their eyes. By doing so, athletes of all ages and in various sports can not only protect their eyes, but also continue to play the sports they love.