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Prevent Blindness Ohio
New Data from Prevent Blindness Ohio Shows More than 32,000
Sports-related Eye Injuries were Treated Last Year,
an almost 20 Percent Increase Over the Previous Year
– Prevent Blindness Ohio has Declared September as Sports Eye Safety Month to Educate Public
about the Risk of Significant Eye Injuries and the Need for the Proper Sports Eye Protection –
Columbus, OH (August 31, 2023) – New annual data from Prevent Blindness Ohio shows that there were more than 32,000 sports-related eye injuries treated in the United States last year, an increase of almost 20 percent from the previous year. To educate the public about the risk of significant and potentially blinding eye injuries and the need for proper eye protection, Prevent Blindness Ohio has declared September as Sports Eye Safety Month.
In addition to providing free downloadable fact sheets, shareable social media graphics, and a dedicated webpage, Prevent Blindness is debuting a new episode in the online Focus on Eye Health Expert Series, “Sports Eye Safety.” Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness, interviews sports vision specialist Keith Smithson, OD, of Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry, and Sports Vision Pros.
The new Prevent Blindness data showed once again that the category of “non-powder guns, darts, arrows, and slingshots” had the overall highest rate of eye injuries. For children ages 0-14, “pools and water sports” had the highest rate of injuries. Types of sports-related eye injuries include blunt trauma, penetrating injuries, eye infections, and corneal scratches and abrasions.
According to Keck Medicine of USC, athletes may also be at risk for a Radiation Eye Injury. Prolonged exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun can be incredibly harmful to vision. Athletes who play in water or snow sports, such as surfing or snow skiing are exposed to bright glaring sunlight that reflects off water or snow, increasing the risk of vision loss or damage.
Prevent Blindness Ohio strongly recommends that athletes of any age wear protective eyewear when participating in sports. Athletes should always consult an eyecare professional to determine the best kind of eye protection for their sport and medical needs. Fortunately, according to the National Eye Institute, wearing the right protective eyewear can prevent 9 out of 10 sports-related eye injuries.
For parents/caregivers of children involved in sports, Prevent Blindness Ohio recommends:
- Parents, teachers, school nurses and coaches should learn about the eye injury risks associated with sports before allowing children to participate.
- Parents should consult an eye doctor for protective eyewear recommendations before enrolling a child in any sports program.
- Parents should only enroll children in after-school organized sports through school districts, community centers, park districts and recreation centers where adults supervise all sports activity. Ideally, an adult trained in the prevention, recognition and immediate care of an eye injury should always be present.
- Parents should meet with a child’s coach or athletic trainer to make sure that proper procedures are in place to deal with a child’s eye injury should one occur.
- Parents, teachers, school nurses and coaches should familiarize themselves with the warning signs of an eye injury and know when to seek treatment.
Prevent Blindness Ohio, Prevent Blindness and Rec Specs are partnering during September’s Sports Eye Safety Month to promote education and awareness on ways to protect vision. To download free educational and promotional materials, including the Sports Eye Safety Guide from Liberty Sport, the company behind Rec Specs, visit LibertySport.com/resources, or contact Jon Phillips at (973) 882-0986 x113, or [email protected]. Social media toolkits are also available by request.
“A sports-related eye injury can happen in an instant, but the effects may last a lifetime,” said Amy Pulles, President & CEO of Prevent Blindness Ohio. “Team up with your eye doctor to find the best sports eye protection to help keep you in the game today and save your sight for the future.”
About Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate
Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness serves all 88 Ohio counties, providing direct services to 1,000,000 Ohioans annually and educating millions of consumers about what they can do to protect and preserve their precious gift of sight.
For more information or to contribute, call 800-301-2020 or donate here.