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Ask the Expert: Eye injuries

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Ask the Expert: Eye injuries

(KUTV) March 21 is officially the first day of spring. Many children are beginning outdoor sports such as baseball and soccer. If your children are headed outside, you might forget about the need to protect their eyes, says Jefferson Langford, OD, an optometrist at Intermountain Riverton Hospital.

How common are sports-related eye injuries?

According to the National Eye Institute of the National Institute of Health:

  • Every 13 minutes, an ER in the United States treats a sports-related eye injury.
  • Most eye injuries among kids aged 11 to 14 occur while playing sports.

What outdoor activities and sports are most prone to eye injuries?

Sports played with a ball or other high-flying projectile object top the list.

Outdoor sports with the highest rates of eye injuries include:

  • Baseball/Softball
  • Tennis and other racket sports
  • Baseball is a leading cause of eye injuries in children 14 and under.

How helpful is protective eye-wear?

Protective eye-wear may prevent 90 percent of sports-related eye injuries.

If your child wears glasses and plays sports, ordinary prescription glasses do not provide adequate protection.

What should sports glasses and goggles be made of?

Protective eye-wear is usually made of poly-carbonate (a shatterproof lightweight plastic).

If your child doesn’t wear glasses, do they need to wear eye protection for certain sports?

In baseball, batters’ helmets should have a poly-carbonate face shield.

Sports goggles equipped with poly-carbonate lenses should be worn by pitchers and players in the outfield.

Eye-wear should be sport-specific and sit comfortably on the face.

Sports goggles with poly-carbonate lenses should always be worn when there’s a risk of a high-flying small projectile, especially in a closed space.

All safety eye-wear should follow the ASTM International testing standards and specifications. Information can be found on their website.

What should you do if you have an eye injury?

For all eye injuries:

  • Do not touch, rub or apply pressure to the eye.
  • Do not try to remove the object stuck in the eye.
  • Do not apply ointment or medication to the eye
  • It's recommended to see a doctor as soon as possible

To treat a blow to the eye:

  • Gently apply cold compress to reduce pain and swelling, but do not apply pressure.
  • If you have eye pain or visual disturbances see your doctor.

If the eye is punctured:

  • Gently place a shield over the eye.
  • Do not rinse with water
  • Avoid giving aspirin or ibuprofen as they may increase bleeding
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