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Seven Facts About Sports Eye Injuries

Seven Facts About Sports Eye Injuries

Athletics are an important part of life for children and adults. There are countless benefits to playing sports, and good to encourage children to participate in them even from a young age.


  • Sports provide opportunities to get beneficial exercise.
  • Sports allow children to get outside and enjoy nature. 
  • Sports can help children grasp valuable lessons about teamwork, character, and perseverance.
  • Sports allow adults to capture some of the energy of their youth.
  • Sports help us sharpen skills and engage our minds even as we age. 

Playing sports can also be dangerous and potentially put people of all ages at risk for injuries. Just like any other part of your body, your eyes can be injured while participating in athletic events. Here are seven things you need to know about sports-related eye injuries. 

Seven Things You Need to Know About Eye Injuries

1) Eye Injuries Can Happen While Playing Sports

With many sports, there is an expectation of wearing pads and protective gear to avoid injuries. We wear helmets, shoulder pads, knee pads, and gloves to protect our heads, bodies, joints, and hands. However, we seldom think that we could injure our eyes. It is important to remember that eye injuries can occur while playing sports. 

2) Sports Eye Injuries Can Be Severe

Not only are eye injuries possible when playing sports, but they can be quite severe. Sports-related eye injuries can have lasting and even permanent impacts on your vision. Types of eye injuries caused by athletics include:

  • Bruising and cuts to eyelids
  • Abrasions to the cornea 
  • Hemorrhaging of the eye
  • Cataracts caused by the effects of eye injuries
  • Orbital fractures
  • Detachment of the retina
  • Rupturing of the eyeball 
  • Blood pooling between the cornea and the iris (Hyphema)

Like anything else, sports-related eye injuries require time for recovery and rehabilitation. If you experience eye problems while playing sports, giving yourself time to heal is vital for your vision. 

3) Most Eye Injuries Are Sports-Related

Of the 30,000 emergency room worthy eye injuries, the overwhelming majority are sports-related. There are many jobs and tasks that are potentially dangerous for your eyes, but nothing comes close to the risks athletics pose to your eye safety. Whether it's your or your child, you want to do whatever you can to avoid eye injuries so severe they require a visit to the hospital.

4) Playing Sports is The Leading Cause of Eye Injuries that Lead to Blindness

Some injuries to the eyes can lead to permanent damage and even blindness. Unfortunately, 13,500 people experience sports-related eye damage that is severe enough to cause blindness. 

5) The Riskiest Sports for Eye Injuries 

When it comes to eye injuries, some sports are riskier than others. The three sports that threaten your eyes the most are basketball, baseball, and watersports:

Basketball: Believe it or not, basketball is the leading cause of eye injuries. A close-quarters contact sport, basketball presents opportunities for elbows and fingers to break orbital bones, scratch corneas, and hemorrhages. 

Baseball: America's pastime is one of the most dangerous sports for the eyes, especially for children 14 years old and younger. Besides the potential to be struck in the eyes by a fast-moving baseball, the frequency of sliding in the dirt to reach the base can lead to scratched corneas. 

Watersports: Watersports present the potential for bacteria-induced infections, as well as opportunities to get hit or kicked in the face. 

Some honorable mentions for dangerous sports include:

  • Tennis and Racquet Sports: There is always the potential to be hit in the eye by a ball
  • Mountain Biking: Flying through the forests on a mountain bike heightens the chances to take dirt, dust, and tree limbs to the eye. 
  • Soccer: Like basketballs, soccer puts athletes' eyes in the line of fire from elbows, fingers, and soccer balls. Goalkeepers are especially susceptible to eye injuries. 
  • Volleyball: A sport where players are literally hit an object down toward the other team, volleyball puts eyes in the line of fire. Furthermore, beach volleyball can be especially dangerous for the eyes. 

6) The Vast Majority of Sports-Related Eye Injuries Can Be Prevented By Wearing Eye

Statistics show that 90% of sports-related eye injuries can be avoided by wearing eye protection. Sunglasses, sports goggles, eye guards, and other protective measures may keep you or your children from experiencing devastating eye problems. 

7) Your Optometrist is Here to Help

Whether you are treating or trying to avoid eye injuries, your trusted optometrist is here to help. We can recommend eye protection or potentially provide prescription goggles and eye safety gear. For those who have experienced eye injuries, you need an eye doctor who can help make sure your recovery is on the right track. If you want to make sure you have taken steps to protect you or your child's eyes while playing sports, reach out to western North Carolina's trusted eye care professionals at Asheville Vision and Wellness.