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Which sports are tied to the most eye injuries? Study explores

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Chicago — Eye injuries were more common in basketball than any other sport last year, according to estimates from advocacy group Prevent Blindness.

Researchers developed the 2019 estimates based on data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Injury Information Clearinghouse and the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System’s Product Summary Report for 2018.

Basketball was associated with an estimated 4,597 eye injuries, with 3,632 likely occurring among players 15 and older, closely followed by “water sports and pools” – 4,565 overall and 2,367 among those 14 and younger. Rounding out the top five are “non-powder guns, darts, arrows and slingshots” (3,612 overall); bicycles and accessories (2,495); and exercise and weightlifting (2,385).

Sports-related eye injuries include infection, corneal abrasions, fracture of the eye socket, swollen or detached retinas, or a traumatic cataract. Nine out of 10 serious eye injuries can be prevented by wearing appropriate protective eyewear, Prevent Blindness says an Aug. 25 press release, citing the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Prevent Blindness has guidelines for finding the best eye protection. Among its recommendations: If you’re buying eye guards with lenses, make sure the lenses either stay in place or “pop outward” in the event of an incident. “Lenses that pop in against your eyes can be very dangerous.”

The study was published in advance of Sports Eye Safety Month – observed each September in an effort to raise awareness about the importance of eye protection in sports.

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