Even though the eyes are so small compared with the total surface area of the body, 10% of all accidents in sports are made up from injuries to the eye.
Everyone who takes part in sports is at risk of an eye injury, whatever their skill level. Professional sports players may feel that their increased level of skill will help them avoid accidents, and social players may feel that not playing so often and not being able to hit the ball as hard or as fast will reduce the chance of injury. Unfortunately,both are still at risk of injury.
The damage can be minimised by making correct use of protective sports eyewear.
Football and squash have been found to be the most common cause of injury, and despite the massive difference in the size of the balls in play, they can both inflict a great deal of damage on the eye.
Squash was the first sport in the UK to be designated a British Standard for protective eyewear, mandatory in all under-19 tournaments, and doubles matches. Two-thirds of all serious accidents, and almost all instances of blind eyes in sport are caused by a squash ball. This is hardly surprising when you consider that a top class player can hit the ball at nearly 200kph, giving it 4 times more energy than a .22 bullet.
Bugs and chemicals from water
Many people get red eyes after swimming due to the chlorine. However, there is also the possibility of contracting an infection that can enter the eye through corneal abrasions. One particularly unappealing parasite in water is acanthamoeba and, though the infection to the eye is treatable, it can result in serious loss of vision if not caught promptly.
Protect your eyes with good quality prescription swimming goggles. These are available in a range of appealing colours and styles, adult and child sizes, and can even be made up to your exact prescription.
Sun and glare
The sun also poses a risk to the eyes. Not only can it burn your skin; even short-term exposure of the unprotected eye to sunlight can cause a painful “sunburn” on the cornea and conjunctiva of your eyes, known as photokeratitis. Photokeratitis can be caused by sun reflection from sand, water, ice and snow.
Long-term exposure to sunlight can lead to more permanent damage such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and growths on the eye, such as pingueculae, pterygia.
Always protect you eyes from the sun with appropriate eyewear when participating in outdoor sport.