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Sports Eye Health Safety Month: How To Deal With An Emergency Sport-Related Eye Injury

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Sports Eye Health Safety Month: How To Deal With An Emergency Sport-Related Eye Injury

While many people like to play sports both for entertainment and as a way to get their body moving, there are some health and safety concerns to be aware of. Many sports participants would greatly benefit from wearing protective eyewear, as players are often at risk of eye emergencies.  Many sports involve fast-moving projectiles, physical contact, high speeds, debris in the air, and other hazards that put your eye health at risk. While wearing safety eye protection can greatly help reduce your risk of eye injury, it is also good to know what to do if an eye emergency occurs.

Types Of Eye Injuries And What To Do About Them

Blunt Trauma
Blunt Trauma injuries are caused by sudden impact from an object, for example, getting hit with a ball. When this happens to the eye, it could result in:

  • A Black Eye: When trauma occurs, it can lead to the development of a black eye caused by bleeding in the eyelid and surrounding tissues. A black eye will often swell and temporarily impair vision and may require a cold compress to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Broken Bones: More severe blunt trauma may lead to broken orbital bones around the eye which can damage important eye structures. Broken bones require a trip to the emergency room.
  • Rupture Or Retinal Detachment: Blunt trauma can also damage the eye itself. It may cause the eye to rupture or the retina to detach or partially detach, all of which are severe eye emergencies that need to be treated either at a hospital or with emergency eye services from an ophthalmologist.

Blunt trauma can cause damage to the back of the eye that cannot always be seen by simply looking at the eye. If someone has experienced any blunt trauma to the eye, they should see an optometrist right away for eye emergency services.

Corneal abrasions occur when something gets in the eye and scratches the outermost layer. Corneal abrasions can be very painful since the cornea is full of nerve endings, but they commonly heal on their own. If it feels as though something is in the eye it is important to not rub, as this can irritate the eye and make the abrasion worse. If the abrasion or injury is causing intense or prolonged pain, visit an optometrist. For severe abrasions, you may need a bandage contact lens, which won’t affect vision but will act as a bandaid to cover the cornea while it heals.

This type of injury is very serious and can lead to permanent vision loss. If a person experiences a penetrating injury, they need to visit the emergency room right away. Injury during sports can be caused by eyeglasses or sunglasses breaking and the lenses penetrating the eye. Penetration can also be caused by flying debris or other accidents. Depending on where the eye is penetrated and by what size object, vision may be saved but it will require immediate treatment.

Eye Emergency Services In Calgary

If you experience an eye emergency while playing sports, go to an optometrist or an emergency room (depending on the extent of injury) as soon as possible. Don’t try to assess the injury or attempt to remove anything from the eye as these actions can make the injury worse. Instead, come to Market Mall Optometry in NW Calgary to receive a proactive diagnosis and treatment that will prevent vision loss, reduce the risk of spreading contagious infections, decrease your pain and discomfort, and allow for quicker healing. If you are on your way to the clinic with someone who is suffering from an eye emergency, you can call ahead at 1-403-286-4884 so we are prepared for you and can address any concerns you have.


Q: If I have an eye emergency, does Market Mall Optometry take walk-ins?
A: Yes, for eye emergencies Market Mall Optometry accepts walk-ins. If you have suffered an eye injury, come to our NW Calgary clinic right away.

Q: What is considered an eye emergency?
A: Eye emergencies are any sudden onset of symptoms or eye trauma that affects vision, causes pain, or triggers sudden and/or intense vision changes. Some symptoms of eye emergencies are:

  • Bleeding of the eye or surrounding area
  • Blood in the white of the eye
  • Eye pain
  • Swollen eye
  • Bulging eye
  • Different sized pupils
  • Loss of vision, doubled vision, or blurred vision
  • Many floaters in the vision
  • A look as if there is a grey curtain over your vision
  • Severe burning, stinging, or itching
  • A scratch or cut to the eye or eyelid
  • Impact to the eye
  • Penetration of the eye

Q: How much will emergency eye services cost if I don’t have insurance?
A: Alberta Health Care covers all emergency eye care costs for people of any age.

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