The Eye Injury Risks of Baseball Season
For many Americans, the return of spring means baseball season begins! Parents are shopping for different equipment, but too many forget to include an important piece of gear: protective eyewear. Each year, participating in sports causes tens of thousands of eye injuries. Most of these occur in kids, and about 90% of them can be avoided.
According to the National Eye Institute, baseball is a leading cause of eye injuries among children 14 years old and younger who play sports in the U.S. In fact, eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children, accounting for an estimated 100,000 emergency room and doctor visits each year.
Potential eye injuries from baseball include:
- corneal abrasion;
- orbital fracture;
- hyphema, which can lead to glaucoma;
- ruptured eyeball;
- cataract; and
- detached retina.
Before taking the field, take the proper steps to keep your eyes safe:
- If you wear prescription glasses or contact lenses, ask one of our doctors about prescription protective sports eyewear. There are certified helmets with attached safety glasses for baseball batters and base runners; fielders can get certified protective eyewear. We can help!
- Sports safety glasses must meet American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) safety standards. Eyewear designed to meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) industrial standards does not meet the safety standards for sports eye protection.
- All prescription sports glasses should be made from polycarbonate material because it resists shattering and provides UV (ultraviolet light) protection. If the protective lenses have turned yellow over time, have them replaced, as the polycarbonate material may have weakened with age.
- Sports goggles provide the best eye protection. However, they may not fit narrow faces well. In this case, the best option is certified sports glasses with 3-millimeter-thick polycarbonate lenses.
- Any player who has vision loss in one eye should always wear eye doctor-recommended protective eyewear to protect their remaining vision.
Most eye injuries require treatment. This will depend on the type and degree of your injury. If it is mild, such as a black eye, use a cold compress. It can help reduce swelling. Apply it to your injured eye for 5 to 10 minutes at a time, resting in between. You can alternate the cold compress with a warm one.
Seek care right away if you have symptoms, such as:
- loss of vision
- intense pain
- blood in your eye
- pus or fluid coming from your eye
- cut on your eye, eyelid, or area around your eye
- object in your eye
- an eye that is swollen shut
As always, we are here to help you avoid eye injuries this spring. Schedule an appointment with one of our doctors to discuss protective eyewear during your eye exam or come in to see our optical technicians during our office hours to discuss your options.