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Sports Eye Safety: First Aid

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Scratched eyes are some of the most common injuries caused by sports-related incidents. Especially in contact sports, fingernails and other abrasive or sharp objects pose the risk of entering the eye and causing scratches.

Common symptoms of scratched eyes include pain or discomfort, a feeling that something is stuck in your eye and watering or tearing. If the scratch is on the white part of your eye, you may also see some physical evidence of the scratch, including blood or the typical red line caused by scratching.

Scratches to the cornea (the clear, round dome covering the iris and the pupil) can be more severe, causing blurred vision, sensitivity to light and headaches. If you believe you’ve scratched your cornea, you should visit an ophthalmologist as soon as possible, as these injuries can permanently damage your vision.

In the meantime, there are a few first aid steps you can take immediately after injury occurs:

  • Rinse your eye with saline solution or clean water.
  • Blink several times to help remove any foreign objects.
  • Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes with anything.
  • Wear sunglasses or other protective eyewear, especially if you’re feeling sensitivity to light.
  • Don’t wear contacts, and don’t put anything into your eye unless directed by a doctor, including redness-relieving eye drops. These can cause further pain.

Every scratch is different, but eyes do tend to heal quickly. A visit to an ophthalmologist can give you further information on how to proceed, as well as how long you should expect the healing process to take. And to think you can prevent these types of injuries from occurring simply by wearing protective eyewear while playing sports!