• Can I exercise with a cut on the white of my eye?


    Question:

    Can I continue to be physically active (martial arts, running, cycling) with a conjunctival laceration (a cut to the thin, outer membrane of the white of the eye)? I did not receive sutures for the injury as it was three to four days from the initial injury when I followed up with an ophthalmologist.


    Answer:

    There are a few different concerns with physical activities after a conjunctival laceration. First is ensuring the integrity of the eye. Frequently with a conjunctival laceration, there is blood that is released that hides the structures beneath the conjunctiva and the full extent of the injury may not be readily apparent. There may be damage to the inner wall of the eye or the sclera. A further injury from a contact sport could open up this occult injury (not apparent initially) to the sclera and be vision threatening.

    Second is infection risk. The conjunctiva and tear film form a protective barrier that keep bacteria from causing infections. While normal bacteria populate the surface of the eye, they can sometimes cause infections when they are able to access areas where they don't normally live. In addition, bacteria which are not usually around the eye can be introduced to these areas through sweat, swimming, etc.

    The safest route is to be evaluated by your ophthalmologist to assess the extent of the injury and obtain guidance about the appropriate time to restart physical activities.


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