As all eye care professionals know, an eye injury is no laughing matter. Injuries can lead to serious, lifelong conditions, and even blindness. One common way that patients sustain eye injuries is through playing sports, particularly when they do not have proper eye protection. Thousands of sports-related eye injuries occur each year, according to the UNC School of Medicine. However, there are several tips that you can recommend that your patients follow in order to avoid these serious injuries.
1) Wear the Right Eye Protection
In the same UNC article, they report that up to 90% of sports-related eye injuries could have been avoided with proper eye protection. This is a staggering statistic and goes to show the importance of proper eyewear. Ophthalmologists and optometrists should recommend that their patients who participate in sports get eye protection that matches the needs of the sport. For example, people who play hockey should get a helmet with a polycarbonate mask or a wire shield, says the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
2) Participate in Safer Variations
Many sports pose a serious risk of injury to both the eyes and other parts of the body. Contact sports are a particularly risky endeavor, as the wrong kind of impact could lead to eye injuries, especially if one wears standard glasses. Instead, suggest that your patients participate in non-contact sports, like flag football, or refrain from activities posing a higher risk, like martial arts sparring. Switching to a safer alternative can help avoid unnecessary physical contact that will greatly reduce the risk of injury. In addition, several sports pose a low risk of eye injury, such as swimming and running. These may be better options for those who cannot afford proper protection.
3) Beware of Projectiles
Most sports require at least one piece of equipment that is often thrown or hit at another player, intentionally or not. You might think of the numerous games that involve a ball, like tennis, baseball, or soccer. However, there are other projectiles that could pose a risk, too. Frisbees, pucks, or even rackets, bats, and other equipment can occasionally pose a risk, so it is important for your clients to remember that staying vigilant during a game is essential.
4) Make an Appointment if Injured
As a final word of advice, all eye care professionals should remind their patients to book an appointment or receive emergency services in the event of a sports-related eye injury. Even if the injury seems miniscule, it can lead to larger issues in the future, which can be more difficult and costly to fix. Although it may seem like overkill, it is better to be safe than sorry, especially considering that one could go blind as a result of an untreated injury. Be sure to have a serious conversation with your patients about the exact steps they should take in the event of an eye injury.
Allentown Optical is aware of the importance eye health has on your patients. We encourage you to take advantage of our optical lab not only to better your business, but especially your patients. For more information, please contact us through our website.