Practising sports can, in certain circumstances and sports, bring with it the possibility of suffering lesions and traumas to the eyes, particularly if you do it without the appropriate protection.

It is estimated that in Spain there are more than 13 million people who practise some sport regularly. In spite of the natural protection that the socket gives to the eye, in some circumstances, as in actions produced by the adversary or partner such as blows from the elbow, knee, foot, nails, fingers etc, or perhaps from objects thrown by the adversary such as balls, sticks, bats etc, eye injuries of lesser or greater severity can occur, from minor erosions or bruises of the eye to loss of the eyeball and secondary vision.

Evidently there are sports with more or less risk and the professionalism of the sportsperson and the standard of protection are key factors in the likelihood of suffering injury.

Using probabilities one can catalogue sports into low, high or very high risk categories as below:

1. Low risk sports eg. Running, swimming, gymnastics, cycling

2. High risk sports in which one uses balls, bats, racquet and in which the players make contact between each other. Amongst these we have: baseball, basketball, football, tennis, rugby, handball, hockey, fencing, squash, table-tennis.

3. Very high risk sports such as boxing. Free fighting, martial arts.

There are other types of eye injuries which occur in people who practise open air sports caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays in sports such as skiing, aquatic sports, cycling and open air racing.

Eye protection methods are various and specific for each sport. These can be :- a helmet with face mask, lenses made from 3mm thick policarbonate, glasses to protect from dust and ultraviolet radiation which try to create a protective micro-climate around the eyes: the grade of the seal of the lenses and frames can be very limited, as for running, with side panels for cycling, or a total seal for underwater sports or motor cycling. To all the previous statements one must add that glasses must have certain properties to protect from surrounding light, from impacts, and no less important that they should be correctly adjusted for one’s sight.

To resume, in my opinion the majority of eye injuries occur in non-professionals of any particular sport who practise this sport without adequate protection. It’s important to have a medical assessment by your family doctor or a specialist to know if the sport in question is suitable for you. An example of this would be to know that for someone who has myopia contact sports such as Karate, Kick-boxing, Free Fighting, would have added risk for your retina if you received a blow to the eye. Finally I would add that any loss of vision or eye pain after an impact is sufficient reason to see the Ophtalmologist

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