Roughly 30,000 sports-related eye injuries serious enough to end in a visit to the emergency room occur each year in the United States, and the majority happen to those under the age of 18, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health-led research suggests.
The researchers, publishing November 3 in JAMA Ophthalmology, also found that basketball and cycling were the two sports most likely to cause eye injuries, while 21 percent of baseball and softball injuries resulted in fractures of the bones around the eye, which often require surgery to repair.
“These are one-time injuries that can have lifelong impacts on the ability to gain an education, to earn a livelihood, to read or drive a car,” says the study’s leader, Dr. R. Sterling Haring, a DrPH candidate in the Bloomberg School’s department of health policy and management. “This needs to be recognized on the policy level and on the personal level as something we should be paying attention to.”
For the study, Haring and his colleagues analyzed the Nationwide Emergency Department Survey, which contains discharge data on approximately 30 million annual emergency room visits to more than 900 hospitals nationwide. Over the course of the study, from 2010 to 2013, 120,847 patients arrived at the emergency room with sports-related eye injuries, making up roughly three percent of all eye injuries. Sixty percent of the injured males and 67 percent of females were age 18 or younger.