Risk factors for sport and recreational eye injuries.

Why should we be concerned about the incidence of eye injury with respect to sport and recreation?  Well, even minor injuries can be painful and debilitating.  While serious injuries can lead to permanent vision impairment, such as loss of vision.  Resulting in a decrease in the quality of life.  Even a mild eye injury can cause inconvenience in daily life, have a burden of treatment costs, and loss of labor.

There are over 600 000cases of sports- and recreation-related eye injuries annually worldwide.  The incidence of injuries has been shown to be dependent on the popularity of a sport in the region.  For example in USA eye injuries most commonly occur during basketball and baseball games.  While in Europe the injuries occur during floorball and soccer.

In Australia, a Western Australia study found that the majority of injuries occur while playing basketball, rugby, soccer, or badminton.  Squash and lacrosse have regulations around eye protection as previously they were shown to be at high risk of permanent eye injury resulting in loss of vision.

A recent study across 4 hospitals looked at the patients that presented with an eye injury, to determine the causes.  Of the 349 injuries observed that resulted from sport or recreation soccer were the most common causal activity with 21% of the eye injuries observed mainly in teenagers, individuals in their 20s, and men.  Badminton and soccer were found to be significantly associated with visual impairment at the first hospital visit compared with combat sports.

Intervention to prevent these injuries from occurring should be geared towards the promotion of wearing protective eyewear during these activities for teenagers and individuals in their 20s to be mandatory.

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