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Monthly Observances April
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Ophthalmologists Urge Eye Protection for Recreational and Professional Sports 

The Arkansas Ophthalmological Society and the American Academy of Ophthalmology remind parents, coaches, and athletes that one simple step can prevent most sports-related eye injuries

New research shows 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. 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. 

Here are some tips for both the professional athlete and the Little League star to stay safe: 

  • Athletes should wear sports eye protection that meets requirements set by appropriate organizations.
  • Parents should make sure that children wear eye protection. Most often, those who sustain sports-related eye injuries are 18 years old or younger.
  • Eye protection can weaken with age and may no longer provide adequate protection. Consider replacing when damaged or yellowed.
  • For basketball, racquet sports, soccer and field hockey, wear protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses.
  • Athletes who wear contacts or glasses should also wear appropriate protective eyewear. Contacts offer no protection and glasses do not provide enough defense.
  • Professional athletes should also wear sports goggles that meet national standards.

For more information on sports eye safety, go to www.eyesmart.org.