Eye Injuries in Sports: How They Happen and What To Do

Revised and Updated by Seth Preston on: September 30, 2019

Eye protection is a must with high-contact or underwater sports. If you or your child are serious competitors in any sport, please consider the fact that at any time, your eyes are at risk of being injured. Basketball, a high speed indoor sport that is famous for bumping knees and elbows, is the leader in sports related ocular injury. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) explains below how prevalent these injuries are:

In fact, basketball is one of the most high-risk sports for eye injuries, with an estimated 6,000 basketball eye injuries happening each year. When taking into account all sports, an estimated 100,000 people hurt their eyes on the court or field, and 13,500 end in permanent vision loss. Ophthalmologists – the medical doctors who treat eye injuries – say that 90 percent of sports-related eye injuries can be prevented with the use of protective eye wear. (AAO)

Amar’e Stoudamire, a famous former Power Forward/Center in the NBA, suffered a detached retina during a game. 


For the swimmers, it’s common knowledge that goggles reduce eye irritation in a swimming pool. What does chlorine do to the eye, exactly? Let’s dive in and ask the Eye Doctors in Tampa for a better explanation of what chlorine does to your eyes after prolonged submersion.

When your eyes are submerged in chlorinated pool water, the tear film that usually acts as a defensive shield for your cornea is washed away. This means that your eyes are no longer protected from dirt or bacteria that are not entirely eliminated by the treated pool water. So, swimmers can be prone to eye infections. One of the most common eye infections from swimming is conjunctivitis or pink eye, which can either be viral or bacterial. (Eye Doctors)

What can you, as a parent or competitor do to protect the eye? Aside from addressing the obvious rules and purchasing the right equipment, one must look at the speed and intensity of their respective sports with caution and respect.



Basketball a Major Cause of Sports Eye Injuries


Does Chlorine Hurt Your Eyes?