A study found that approximately 30,000 people present to the emergency department each year after experiencing eye injuries related to sports, but appropriate protective eyewear could potentially reduce the number of sports-related ocular trauma incidents.
Researchers examined data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample in a retrospective, cross-sectional study to determine factors associated with sports-related ocular trauma. Over 4 years, 120,847 patients presented to emergency departments with sports-related ocular trauma. Of those patients, 85,961 had a primary diagnosis of ocular trauma.
In male subjects, basketball was the leading cause of ocular trauma (25.7%), followed by baseball or softball (13.2%) and shooting an air gun (12.7%). In female subjects, baseball or softball was the leading cause of ocular trauma (19.2%), followed by cycling (10.8%) and soccer (10.3%).
Male subjects were more likely than female subjects to have sports-related ocular trauma, totaling 81.3% of patients. The mean age of male subjects was 20.1 years compared with 19 years for female subjects; 59.8% of male subjects and 67.1% of female subjects were age 18 years or younger.
Impaired vision was most likely to occur in paintball and air gun injuries.
“Research has repeatedly shown that appropriate protective eyewear can reduce the incidence of sports-related ocular trauma. Mandating the use of such protective gear has reduced rates of injury across several sports, and recent research suggests that when appropriate eyewear is available but not mandatory, top-performing athletes frequently choose to wear it,” the study authors wrote. - by Robert Linnehan
Disclosure: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.