As the current research shows, the leading cause of sports-related eye injuries in the United States is basketball. Most of these eye injuries can be prevented with one simple step which is wearing protective eyewear. There is a study in 2018 that found that almost 16% of eye injuries in kids between 1990 and 2012 is caused by basketball. Baseball or softball and non-powder gun use including pellet guns and airsoft rifles are the second and third-most dangerous activities.
These are real-life examples of eye injuries caused by basketball:
● Angellia Lilomaiava is a high school basketball player who got poked in the eye during a basketball tournament. A collision on the court occurred as she went up for a two-foot shot. She did not realize that she sustained an NBA-level injury that can take her out of the game forever.
● Lebron James was poked in the eye by an opponent during the 2018 NBA finals. He had a subconjunctival hemorrhage which can be observed as bloodshot in his eyes. The conjunctiva of the eye contains tiny blood vessels that can break. Blood leaks when blood vessels break which makes the eye red.
● Akil Mitchell was poked in the eye as he went up for a rebound in January 2017. It is a gruesome injury because the poke dislodged his left eye from its socket. The same goes with Allen Ray when he was playing a college basketball game for Villanova in 2006. Luckily, the vision of both players was saved by ophthalmologists.
Who Treats Eye Injuries in Athletes?
Just like other people who sustain eye injuries, the one who treats devastating eye injuries in athletes are ophthalmologists. Ophthalmologists are physicians who specialized in medical and surgical eye care. They treat every level of play, from high school standouts to NBA stars. If an eye injury has occurred, it is important to seek help immediately.
What Is the Best Defense Against Eye Injury?
No one likes having an eye injury. As much as possible, people want to avoid having an injury. The best defense against eye injury whether you are an NBA star or a high school student is wearing the right protective eyewear. It is the best choice for basketball players and for those who play racquet sports, soccer, and field hockey to use protective eyewear that is made with polycarbonate lenses.
The sports eye protection that all athletes should wear meets the requirements set by appropriate organizations. Be reminded that eyeglasses alone do not provide enough defense and contacts do not offer protection at all. It is important to wear appropriate protective eyewear even if you are wearing contacts or glasses.