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Andrew W. Stacey, Craig N. Czyz, Jill A. Foster, Dawn Comstock; Eye Injuries in US High School Athletes: Results of a Six-Year Epidemiologic Study. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):6770.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To examine the epidemiology of eye injuries in US high school athletes and to identify areas where eye injury prevention is still a concern.
Eye injury data for the 2005 through 2011 academic years were collected via the High School Reporting Information Online (RIO) from a large national sample of US high schools. Data were collected from 20 different high school sports.
A total of 143 eye injuries requiring medical evaluation occurred over the 6 year period, representing 0.4% of all injuries sustained by US high school athletes. Injuries were more common in males (69%) and at the varsity level (66%). Half of injuries occurred in competition, while half occurred during practice. Baseball/softball athletes experienced the most injuries (28%) followed closely by boys’ and girls’ basketball (24%). Documented injuries included periorbital contusion and laceration, corneal abrasion, corneal laceration, fracture, hyphema, and retinal detachment. Overall, eye injuries were deemed preventable by the use of protective equipment in 29% of cases. Boys’ basketball, football, and baseball produced the greatest overall numbers of preventable injuries (9, 9, and 7 respectively). Of these, football injuries were found to be the most preventable (50% preventable). Athletes required a physician visit in 73% of cases and radiographic evaluation was required in 20% of cases. Overall, 2% of injuries resulted in the athlete forfeiting the remainder of the sport season. The majority of athletes (70%) returned to play within six days of injury. Athletes who suffered a fracture experienced the most prolonged return to play time. Two out of five athletes who suffered a fracture were unable to compete again that season. Of the five fractures identified, four resulted from baseball and direct contact with a ball.
A number of epidemiologic studies have identified high risk sports for eye injury and many prevention techniques have been implemented with great success. Yet, there are many preventable eye injuries occurring. According to onsite evaluators, if US high school athletes used face shields in football, caged batting helmets in baseball, and eye protection in basketball there would be a minimum 20% decrease in all US high school athlete eye injuries.
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