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Sports Eye Injuries

Ocular Sports Injuries

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Dr. Relief Jones, III has served as a team physician for the San Antonio Rampage Hockey Team since 2011. As a part of the medical team, he treats players and referees with ocular injuries. As a part of the head and neck team, he utilizes his plastic surgery skills to repair facial and extremity lacerations. He has become an integral part of the sports medicine community and receives referrals from numerous local college and high school athletic programs.

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More than 90% of all eye injuries can be prevented with the use of appropriate protective eyewear.

More than 600,000 eye injuries related to sports and recreation occur each year. Over 85% of children do not utilize protective eyewear in situations that represent a risk of eye injury.

 

Take These Steps to Protect Your Children’s Eyes (and Yours)

  •  Wear proper safety goggles (lensed polycarbonate protectors) for racquet sports or basketball.
  • Use batting helmets with polycarbonate face shields for youth baseball.
  • Use helmets and face shields approved by the U.S. Amateur Hockey Association when playing hockey.
  • Know that regular glasses don’t provide enough protection.

 

5 Sports Requiring Goggles

  • Baseball & Softball
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Football
  • Hockey (Field & Ice)

 

Surface Injury

Corneal or Conjunctival Abrasions

Can occur when an object like a ball or finger rubs against or scratches the surface of the eye removing some of the epithelial cells. Abrasions typically heal in 24-72 hours. If you have an abrasion, yoiu will need to see an ophthalmologist for antibiotic ointment to prevent the formation of infection. Sometimes, injury to the eye can penetrate the full thickness of the eye (open globe injury). This type of injury is an emergency and will typically require surgical repair.

 

Conjunctival Hemorrhage

Subconjunctival Hemorrhages occur when a blood vessel in the conjunctiva is inured. The conjunctiva is the clear covering over the white part of the eye. Subconjunctival hemorrhages, if it is the only injury, usually resolve on their own and cause no long-term problems. You should see an ophthalmologist to rule-out other undetected injury to the eye.

 

Traumatic Iritis

Traumatic iritis is the presence of inflammatory (white blood cells) cells in the anterior chamber of the eye. This usually happens after blunt injury to the eye. In most cases, steroid drops will be prescribed to suppress the inflammation and prevent further damage.

 

Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachments occur after blunt or penetrating injury to the eye. The injury can cause a tear in the retina. Fluid can then move under the retina through the hole causing the retina to pushed off. You may see flashes of light, floaters, or even a curtain shade blocking your vision. If you develop symtoms consistent with retinal detachment, you will need to see an ophthalmologist immediately.

 

Hyphema

Hyphemas develop after blunt or penetrating injury to the eye. The forces of a ball, elbow, or other fast moving object can hit the eye and damage vascular structures like the iris. This causes bleeding inside the eye. This blood can sometimes be seen with the naked eye using a small flashlight. Eyes with hyphemas need to be examined immediately by an ophthalmologist. Open globe injury needs to ruled-out and the intraocular pressure needs to be monitored as it can rise and cause glaucoma.

 

Orbital Wall Fractures

Orbital Wall Fractures develop when the eye and socket is hit by a fast moving object like a ball or fist. When the bone absorbs the force from the object, the medial or inferior orbital wall will usually fracture. This can cause the eye to look sunken in or even cause double vision. You will need to be examined immediately to rule-out other injury.

 

 

Lens Injury (Cataract)

Cataract (cloudy lens) or Lens Dislocation can occur immediately after or sometimes in a delayed fashion after blunt or penetrating injury to the eye. This type of injury can cause a severe decrease in vision and usually require surgery to remove the damaged lens. An artificial lens implant will typically be placed in the eye to take the place of your natural lens.

 

Secondary Glaucoma

Secondary Glaucoma can develop after an injury to the eye. In most cases, the injury damages the drainage structure inside the eye called the trabecular meshwork. Fluid being produced in the eye cannot exit at a normal rate and the intraocular pressure rises. This increasd pressure causes the optic nerve to degenerate. This can happen many years after an eye injury and that is why you should continue long-term care with an ophthalmologist after injuring your eye.