Madness: Basketball is the Leading Cause of Eye Injuries
Written By: Susanne Medeiros
Mar. 22, 2018
New research has shown, once again, that basketball is the leading cause of sports-related eye injuries in the United States. Most of these injuries could have been prevented with one, simple step — wearing protective eyewear.
The study appeared in the journal Pediatrics. It found that the leading cause of sports eye injuries in kids is basketball, followed by baseball and softball and nonpowder gun use, such as airsoft rifles and pellet guns.
But the real-life examples of preventable eye injuries are more compelling than the statistics:
Ophthalmologists — physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care — treat devastating eye injuries in athletes at every level of play, from high school standouts to NBA stars.
NBA player Amare Stoudemire suffered a detached retina while playing for the Phoenix Suns in 2008. In January 2017, former Virginia basketball player Akil Mitchell went up for a rebound and was poked in the eye. The poke dislodged his left eye from its socket. A gruesome injury. But it wasn’t the first time it occurred. In 2006, Allen Ray’s eye popped out of his socket while playing a college basketball game for Villanova. Fortunately, for both players, their vision was saved by ophthalmologists.
The right protective eyewear is the best defense against eye injury, whether you’re a high schooler or an NBA star. Protective eyewear made with polycarbonate lenses is the best choice for basketball players, as well as for those who play racquet sports, soccer and field hockey. All athletes should wear sports eye protection that meets requirements set by appropriate organizations. Athletes who wear contacts or glasses should also wear appropriate protective eyewear. Contacts offer no protection and glasses do not provide enough defense.