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Eye Injuries from Pickleball

Every year more than 600,000 recreational and sports-related eye injuries occur. Of these, close to 14,000 result in a permanent loss of sight. Racket sports rank 4th among activities causing eye injuries. About 90% of these could be avoided with the use of protective eyewear made of polycarbonate lenses. Polycarbonate lenses are highly impact resistant and are available in prescription and non-prescription lenses, and they offer UV protection. A change or loss of vision causes a significant lifestyle change, and has a social and financial impact. Pickleball is classified as a high-risk activity because it involves a ball and a paddle, both of which can potentially cause eye trauma. Eye injuries are classified into three different types.

BLUNT TRAUMA

This is when an object strikes your eye, and is the most common injury. This can result in orbital fractures, a ruptured globe (broken eyeball), a vitreous hemorrhage, or a detached retina. The retina is the posterior part of the eye sensitive to light and creates a visual image, similar to the film in a camera.

PENETRATING INJURIES

This is when something cuts your eye. It is very rarely seen in racket sports, unless eyeglasses are broken.

RADIATION INJURIES
This is caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight. Excessive exposure to UV light can cause eye damage, including cataracts, macular degeneration and temporary vision loss. The closer you are to the equator and the higher the elevation, the greater the UV exposure. From 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m., UV exposure is greatest, and certain medications such as tetracycline, sulfa drugs, oral contraceptives, diuretics and tranquilizers increase exposure.

A pickleball can travel at one-third the velocity of a tennis ball, which means it can travel at about 40 MPH. With two players at the no-volley line it takes 350-400 milliseconds, or less than half a second, for the ball to travel from one paddle to the other. In other words, you do not have time to avoid being hit in the eye with a ball. You can test your reaction time at this website, http://www.mathsisfun.com/games/reaction-time. html. In addition to injuries from being hit by a ball, serious damage can occur from being hit in the eye with a paddle.

If you do suffer eye trauma playing pickleball, see an ophthalmologist immediately if the injury results in a loss or change in vision, significant pain, bruising or bleeding.

See the pickleball even better with these eye-saving glasses. The lenses are made of a shatterproof polycarbonate, and they offer UV protection.

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