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.
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