Checkup: Eye Protection for Athletes
Every now and again a sports star, usually a basketball player, will get an eye injury and start wearing something some kind of protective gear. Back in the day, Kareem Abdul Jabbar famously wore goggles. More recently, New York Knicks superstar Amare Stoudemire has taken to wearing wrap-around glasses.
And yet somehow, wearing protective eye gear as a preventive measure while playing sports hasnít exactly caught on among regular people. Which is a problem, according to optometrist Dr. Paul Berman, OD, in Hackensack, New Jersey.
"Well, every thirteen minutes in the United States, somebody goes to the emergency room from a sports-related eye injury."
If that sounds like a lot of eye injuries, it is. According to the National Eye Institute, hospitals deal with more than 600,000 sports-related eye injuries every year, most of which are preventable. But without protection during sports, the eyes are vulnerable to some pretty serious injuries.
"They go from being a scratched cornea, which is painful, to blindness. I mean, sometimes thereís what we call a blowout fracture to the eye where the bones around the eye fracture and the eye gets displaced, and sometimes thereís penetrating wounds to the eye."
Scary stuff. But, Dr. Berman says, 95% of sports-related eye injuries are preventable. In New Jersey, thereís a law in the works to alert parents to the danger.
"So theyíre going to have to sign a permission slip if the law goes through. Thatís going to make parents aware that there is risk to eye injuries. Because you donít think about it -- you send your kids out to play, you donít think about it, you give them elbow pads and shin pads but you donít give them eye protection."
I'm Jeremy Shere.