Making Eye Safety a Sporting Event

This time of year, you can’t pass a park or rec center without seeing children and adults playing soccer, baseball, lacrosse and a host of other springtime sports. But sometimes it’s not all fun and games. More than 40,000 athletes suffer sports-related eyes injuries each month. About one-third of those are children. So, the American Academy of Ophthalmology through its EyeSmart program is promoting eye safety in sports during Sports Eye Safety Month. The goal is to encourage the public to wear appropriate, sports-specific protective eyewear. “Athletes need to use protective eyewear because eye injuries can be devastating,” says Dr. Alberto Martinez of Bethesda, Md., and a clinical correspondent for the Academy. “Eye injuries are one of the leading causes of visual impairment in children. The injuries range from abrasions of the cornea and bruises of the lids to internal eye injuries, such as retinal detachments and internal bleeding. Unfortunately, some of these young athletes end up with permanent vision loss and blindness.” He also points out that sporting leagues don’t require children to wear eye protection, so parents must insist their children wear protective eye gear. Do you use protective eyewear when playing sports or insist your children do? Do you know of a time when protective eyewear saved an athlete – adult or child – from a serious eye injury?  

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Kerry Solomon, MD

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