March madness may be behind us, but one thing about the game is still a slam-dunk—basketball remains the leading cause of sports related eye injuries. As reported in the journal Pediatrics, basketball related eye injuries lead to the most emergency room visits among kids under the age of 17 in the U.S. Following closely behind are eye injuries sustained while playing baseball, softball, and from using non-powder guns, such as pellet guns or airsoft rifles. The most common types of eye injury for these activities are corneal abrasions.
But basketball related eye injuries certainly aren’t limited to kids or amateurs. Consider these scenarios:
- Kansas State star point guard Barry Brown got poked in the eye in a game against in-state rival Kansas just two days before this year’s March Madness bracket was announced. With bleeding in his eye, Brown couldn’t see how many fingers his coach was holding up and had to sit out the game. Without Brown, the Wildcats lost the Big 12 Tournament semifinal game.
- Just two days later, the Hornets’ Marvin Williams had to exit the game to get stitches for a laceration above his eye.
- In January last year, former Virginia player Akil Mitchell was gouged in the eye when he went up for a rebound. The injury dislodged his left eye from its socket.
Fortunately for these players, and many others who aren’t on the national stage, their vision was saved by ophthalmologists. However, most of these sports-related eye injuries can be prevented by wearing proper protective eyewear, regardless of your age.
Wear protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses for sports such as basketball, baseball, racquet sports, soccer and field hockey. All athletes should wear sports eye protection that meets ASTM eye-safety standards as indicated by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Athletes who wear glasses should still wear appropriate protective eyewear as glasses do not provide enough protection.
Baptist Eye Surgeons always recommends using protective eyewear when participating in any activity that poses an increased risk for eye injury. If you or a loved one do have an accident and experience any trauma to the eye, don’t hesitate to contact our office and request an emergency appointment.
With offices in Knoxville, TN and Morristown, TN, Baptist Eye Surgeons is an ophthalmology practice dedicated to providing quality eye care to patients whose needs range from relief from dry eye to routine comprehensive eye examinations to complex eye surgeries. To learn about our specialities and our doctors, visit our website. Call us at 865-579-3920 for more information, or schedule an appointment online.