Know Your Ocular Sport Injuries
Everyone enjoys sports! Sports can help to achieve fitness goals and maintain healthy weight. Furthermore, it also helps to promote good mental health. Football, badminton, golf, tennis, squash and martial arts are some popular sports among Malaysians. However, these sports are potential for eye injury which can lead to permanent damage to the eyes.
Sports are further classified to low, high and very high risk categories based on the potential eye injuries. Low risk indicates no use of a ball, bat or racquet, and no body contact. Examples include track/field, swimming, gymnastics, and cycling. High risk sports involve the use of a ball, bat or racquet, and/or body contact. Examples of high risk sports include baseball, hockey, football, basketball, racquet sports, tennis, fencing, and golf. Very high risk sports, such as boxing, wrestling, and contact martial arts, are those in which eye protectors typically are not worn.
The most common mechanisms of eye trauma involve blunt, penetrating, and radiation injuries. Most sports related eye injuries are blunt trauma. The extent of ocular damage depends on the hardness, size and velocity of the object. Usually a blunt object smaller than the eye’s orbital opening induces more damage than a large object. It is due to rapid and great force transmitting to the internal ocular structures while larger objects exert force on the eye socket, resulting fractures of thin bones.
Penetrating injuries are relatively uncommon but such injuries may range from mild abrasions to serious lacerations. Broken glasses, fishing hooks and contact with other player’s equipment can cause penetrating injury. Contra to blunt and penetrating injuries, radiation injuries occur as a result of extensive exposure to ultraviolet light in snow skiing, water skiing, and other water sport.
Eye injuries can cause vision loss or blindness if not treated immediately. It is important to see an Ophthalmologist to examine the eye as soon as an injury occurs. Even if the injury seems minor, do not try to treat the injury by yourself.
Eye protection has reduced the number and severity of eye injuries and it is strongly recommended that protective eyewear be worn by all participants in sports in which there is risk of eye injury. Protective eyewear made of polycarbonate, a highly impact resistant plastic is stronger than regular eye glasses. Polycarbonate lenses are available in prescription and non-prescription lenses and can be fit into wrap-style frames which cover more eye area and protect eyes from flying objects. If you need prescription sport glasses, you must purchase these from an optical store with a valid eyeglass prescription.