Did you know that a sport’s related eye injury is treated in an ER every 13 minutes and 1 in 3 eye injuries involve kids? The month of September is Sports Eye Safety Month. We at ivalueSafety.com would like to share some sports eye injury prevention safety tips, including how to recognize and what to do in case of an eye injury:
- For all age groups, sports-related eye injuries occur most frequently in baseball, basketball and racquet sports.
- In baseball, ice hockey and men’s lacrosse, a helmet with a polycarbonate (an especially strong, shatterproof, lightweight plastic) face mask or wire shield should be worn at all times. It is important that hockey face masks be approved by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council or the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
- Protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses should be worn for sports such as basketball, racquet sports, soccer and field hockey. Choose eye protectors that have been tested to meet the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards or that pass the CSA racquet sports standard. See the EyeSmart Protective Eyewear page for additional details.
- If you already have reduced vision in one eye, consider the risks of injuring the stronger eye before participating in contact or racquet sports, which pose a higher risk of eye injury. Check with your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) to see if appropriate eye protection is available and whether or not participating in contact or racquet sports is advised.
- Boxing and full-contact martial arts pose an extremely high risk of serious and even blinding eye injuries. There is no satisfactory eye protection for boxing, although thumbless gloves may reduce the number of boxing eye injuries.
Because eye injuries can cause serious vision loss, it’s important to be able to recognize an injury and appropriately respond to it. DO NOT attempt to treat a serious eye injury yourself.
How to recognize an eye injury
If you notice any of these signs in yourself or someone else, get medical help right away.
- The person has obvious pain or trouble seeing.
- The person has a cut or torn eyelid.
- One eye does not move as well as the other.
- One eye sticks out compared to the other.
- The eye has an unusual pupil size or shape.
- There is blood in the clear part of the eye.
- The person has something in the eye or under the eyelid that can’t be easily removed.
What to do for an eye injury
For all eye injuries:
- DO NOT touch, rub or apply pressure to the eye.
- DO NOT try to remove the object stuck in the eye.
- Do not apply ointment or medication to the eye.
- See a doctor as soon as possible, preferably an ophthalmologist.
If your eye has been cut or punctured:
- Gently place a shield over the eye. The bottom of a paper cup taped to the bones surrounding the eye can serve as a shield until you get medical attention.
- DO NOT rinse with water.
- DO NOT remove the object stuck in eye.
- DO NOT rub or apply pressure to eye.
- Avoid giving aspirin, ibuprofen or other non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs thin the blood and may increase bleeding.
- After you have finished protecting the eye, see a physician immediately.
If you get a particle or foreign material in your eye:
- DO NOT rub the eye.
- Lift the upper eyelid over the lashes of your lower lid.
- Blink several times and allow tears to flush out the particle.
- If the particle remains, keep your eye closed and seek medical attention.
In case of a chemical burn to the eye:
- Immediately flush the eye with plenty of clean water
- Seek emergency medical treatment right away.
To treat a blow to the eye:
- Gently apply a small cold compress to reduce pain and swelling.
- DO NOT apply any pressure.
- If a black eye, pain or visual disturbance occurs even after a light blow, immediately contact your Eye M.D. or emergency room.
- Remember that even a light blow can cause a significant eye injury.
To treat sand or small debris in the eye:
- Use eyewash to flush the eye out.
- DO NOT rub the eye.
- If the debris doesn’t come out, lightly bandage the eye and see an Eye M.D. or visit the nearest emergency room.
Don’t you or a family member become a statistic. 90% of serious eye injuries are preventable through the use of appropriate protective eyewear. You can log onto American Academy of Ophthalmology for additional eye injury prevention tips for work and other activities.