Eye Safety Best Practices


To minimize the risk that an athlete will suffer an eye injury playing sports, a sports program should:

  • Follows all sport-specific rules and regulations regarding protective eyewear and equipment during games and practices.
  • Requires that a coach or parent volunteer surveys the playing field for any potential eye hazards (low hanging branches, short poles, sticks in ground, lawn furniture, sport equipment including goal frames, benches, etc.)
  • Prohibits athletes from playing with broken or hazardous equipment that could pose a potential danger for eye injury.
  • Always ensure that athletes are supervised when playing sports with objects that could pose hazards (e.g. lacrosse sticks, ice and field hockey sticks, baseball bats, etc.)
  • Always educate players regarding rules designed to prevent potential eye injuries. For example, most sports do not allow sticks or playing objects to come above the shoulders during play.
  • Requires that the first aid kit includes a rigid eye-shield and eyewash for use if an injury occurs.

First Aid

In the event of an eye injury, first-aid should be administered by the coach or parent volunteer according to the following guidelines:  

Specks in the eye:

  • Advise the athlete not to rub the eye
  • Try to let tears wash the object out or use eyewash
  • Try lifting the upper eyelid outward and down over the lower eyelid.
  • If the speck remains in the eye, cover the eye lightly and seek the attention of a physician

Direct blow to the eye or surrounding bone and soft tissue:

  • Apply a soft, cold compress to the area to assist in pain and swelling management.
  • If eye and or surrounding facial soft tissue is painful, seek emergency care to assess for potential facial fractures, vision deficits, or internal eye damage.
  • With any direct facial blow, it is always important not to overlook the potential for head injury, such as a concussion. It is important to discuss this potential associated injury with a doctor upon examination of the eye injury.

Cuts or puncture of the eye or eyelid:

  • Do not flush or wash the eye
  • Do not remove the stuck object
  • Do not attempt to move eye
  • Cover eye with rigid eye-shield if object is not protruding out of eye
  • Call 911 or seek emergency help right away