To investigate the incidence and general characteristics of sports-related eye injuries in patients visiting the Emergency Department.
A cross-sectional, multi-center, observational study. Patients with an injured eye who visited the Emergency Department at one of nine hospitals in Korea were enrolled. All data were prospectively collected between March and September 2010 using a questionnaire. Eye injuries that occurred during risky sports were examined by gender and age. Additionally, the rate of open globe injuries that occurred with and without protective eyewear was examined for each activity. Continuous variables were compared using Student's t-test and categorical variables were compared using Chi-square test.
A total of 446 patients had sports-related eye injuries. Teenagers (10-19 years old) and young adults (20-29 years old) had the most eye injuries. Eye injuries accounted for 0.2% of Emergency Department patients. Baseball was the most common cause of sports-related eye injuries, followed by soccer and hiking. Protective gear was worn by 9.4% of all patients. Patients that were 30-39 years of age had the highest rate of protective gear use, followed by patients that were 40-49 years of age. The proportion of sports-related eye injuries that were open-globe injuries was highest for soccer and hiking.
Although injuries were most common in patients below the age of 10 years, these patients had the lowest rate of protective eyewear use. Injuries in adults over 40 years of age most commonly occurred during hiking, but the rate of protective eyewear use was low. Young athletes should be educated on and provided with protective eyewear and policies protective gear use should be established. For older adults, eye protection should be encouraged, especially during hiking.