Eye injuries in athletics and recreation.

Napier SM, Baker RS, Sanford DG, Easterbrook M. Surv Ophthalmol 1996 Nov-Dec;41(3):229-44.

Sports-related eye injuries represent a significant eye health hazard worldwide. In the USA, it is estimated that eye injuries from sports account for more than 100,000 physician visits per year at the cost of greater than $175 million. The sports responsible for the greatest number of injuries are baseball, ice hockey, and racquet sports. In the USA there are over 189 million participants in these sports with a disproportionate number (one-third) of injuries involving the pediatric population. The most common injuries are abrasions and contusions, followed by more serious injuries, including hyphema. Substantial reduction in the incidence of eye injuries through prevention has been demonstrated in the sport of hockey which can serve as a model for other sports. Specific criteria for protective eyewear must be developed. Polycarbonate plastic lenses and frames which are sturdy and impact resistant provide optimal protection. Lensless goggles, street wear and spectacle correction glasses do not provide adequate eye protection. The ophthalmologist’s role in preventing sports-related eye injuries includes addressing particular sports participants needs, identifying one-eyed athletes, and informing patients of the need for protective eyewear.