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07/16/2019

Department of Health: While Enjoying Summer Activities, Take Steps to Protect Your Eyes

Harrisburg, PA - The Department of Health urged all Pennsylvanians to take steps to prevent eye injuries that can occur more frequently during the summer months.

“During the summer, many children and adults are staying active by playing outside and taking part in organized or recreational sports,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “It is essential that all residents take the proper steps to protect their eyes from serious injuries when participating in these activities. Eye injuries can be severe and impact an individuals’ future and entire way of life.”

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, each year approximately 100,000 sports eye injuries occur. Of these, 42,000 people go to the emergency room, and more than 13,000 people go blind from a sports-related injury.

Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in the United States, and most injuries that are reported in school-aged children are sports-related. These injuries account for nearly 100,000 physician visits each year and cost more than $175 million.

Sports-related eye injuries are very common. Sports where most eye injuries occur include baseball and softball, basketball, lacrosse, hockey, and racquet sports. Baseball is the most common cause of sports-related eye injuries for children ages 5 to 14. Basketball is the lead cause of sports-related eye injuries for teens and adults ages 15 to 64.

Ninety percent of eye injuries can be prevented through wearing protective eyewear, including safety glasses and goggles, safety shields, and eye guards. Ordinary prescription glasses, contacts and sunglasses do not protect against eye injuries.

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have suffered an eye injury, it is important to seek medical treatment. Some eye issues, such as a detached retina, can only be seen by a doctor during an examination. Even eye injuries that seem minor at first should be checked out, as serious eye issues can cause vision loss or blindness.

For more information on eye safety and your health, visit www.health.pa.gov or follow the Department of Health on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT: Nate Wardle, 717-787-1783 or ra-dhpressoffice@pa.gov

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