North Carolina, Oklahoma, Syracuse and Villanova are headed to college
basketball’s Final Four. The NBA playoffs have moved into high gear.
Major League Baseball is keying up for opening day.
So what do these three big sporting events have in common – besides
a huge fan following and big T.V. ratings?
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), these college and professional athletes play in two of the three sports
that cause the most sports-related eye injuries (racquet sports round
out the top three).
As Key-Whitman Eye Center’s Dallas Eye Doctor, Todd Agnew, O.D.,
explains, “We treat a variety of sports-related eye injuries at
Key-Whitman – from corneal abrasions to orbital fractures and more.
Basketball, baseball and racquet sports, along with soccer, bring the
most athletes through our doors for treatment of eye injuries and a host
of vision problems.”
Orbital fractures grab headlines, but infections and inflammation are more common
Pittsburgh Pirates young prospect Austin Meadows and
Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose dominated headlines following news of their orbital fractures, Dr. Agnew
and team see other sports-related eye injuries much more frequently.
According to Dr. Agnew, Clinical Director of Optometric Services at Key-Whitman,
the most common athlete eye injuries Key-Whitman eye doctors treat include:
Corneal abrasion. A scratch on the eye’s cornea, the clear, protective lens in front
of the iris. The most common sports-related eye injury, a corneal abrasion
can result in an eye infection.
Subconjunctival hemorrhage. A broken or bruised blood vessel on the surface of the white part of the
eye. Typically heals with time.
Traumatic iritis. An inflammatory response following a poke or elbow to the eye. Usually
causes pain and light sensitivity.
Hyphema. Pooling of blood between the cornea and iris, visible in the colored area
of the eye. Typically causes vision loss and pain.
Eyelid laceration. Actual cuts to the eyelid. May need
eyelid surgery to repair damage.
Orbital fracture. Damage to the bone surrounding the eyeball, may cause real pain upon attempted
eye movement (up, down, left, right) and herniated eye muscles, resulting
in double vision. Eyeball can appear to be sunken in. Depending on severity,
may or may not require surgical repair.
You should seek immediate care following an eye injury
While some eye injuries simply heal over time, it’s still imperative
to visit your eye health practitioner right away to reduce long-term risks.
And don’t hesitate to head to the emergency room for serious eye injuries.
“When you experience an injury that could affect your eyes or vision
permanently, the sooner you see an eye health specialist, the better your
odds are of recovering full function relative to the eye. Without a doctors
care, pain, discomfort and permanent vision loss could result,”
warns Dr. Agnew.
Eye exams can reveal multiple health issues following an injury
What many people don’t realize is eye doctors perform a comprehensive
eye exam along with several other tests following a sports-related or
general eye injury. This is necessary in order to diagnose all eye problems and
potentially reveal other health issues.
As Dr. Agnew explains, “When we examine a patient with an eye injury,
we need to look at the visible symptoms (i.e. blood visible in the eye,
swollen eyelids, etc.), listen to patient feedback (i.e., “I took
a traumatic blow to the head, my eye hurts, and I have double vision)
and conduct a series of tests (i.e., dilated eye exam, CT orbital scan,
etc.) before we come up with a diagnosis.”
Case in point, a symptom like double vision could result from an orbital
fracture, but it could also be a sign of a concussion.
“During the exam, we may find multiple eye problems that need be
addressed. For example, we often find retinal issues in patients with
orbital fractures. At the same time, traumatic brain injuries (concussions)
are common in contact sports, so we may refer the patient to a specialist
for an MRI
if concussion symptoms are present,” Dr. Agnew says.
If you want to play ball, rely on a full-service eye care practice
Many people think of Key-Whitman as cataract surgery and LASIK surgery
specialists. While this may be true, you’ll also find a full spectrum
of eye care professionals on staff who specialize in treating sports-related
eye injuries, along with other eye diseases and conditions.
According to Dr. Agnew, “We have oculoplastic surgeons who specialize
in treating injuries like orbital fractures. In addition, our team includes
corneal specialists, retinal specialists, glaucoma specialists and eye
doctors who specialize in the treatment of macular degeneration,
diabetic eye disease and more. We really cover all the bases,” Dr. Agnew says.
If you’d like to see a eye care specialist to address a sports-related
eye injury, schedule an eye health exam or learn more about surgical options
for vision correction in Dallas, call (855) 410-8106 to speak with a Key-Whitman
patient service representative. If you prefer to contact us digitally,
you can fill out our handy online appointment form here.
Photo Source: By Keith Allison from Baltimore, USA (RO9A3387) [CC BY-SA
2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via