For the past twenty years, I have enjoyed playing squash three times per week. During that time, I have made a habit of always wearing my safety sport glasses. I knew that because squash balls can travel up to 280 km/hr, they are capable of doing tremendous damage to the eye. In fact, I have examined a few patients over the years who were blind in one eye as a result of not wearing eye protection while playing squash. I had also read that a squash player has a 25% chance of receiving a serious eye injury at some time during their playing career. Because of my past experience with patient injuries, and the statistics regarding squash players, I knew that wearing sport glasses to protect the eyes was incredibly important.Over the past twenty years, I was faithful at wearing my sport glasses each and every time I played squash. One morning about two years ago, however, I couldn’t find my sport glasses, so I went ahead and played without them, thinking that this one time wouldn’t matter. After all, I have never had a squash ball hit my glasses at any time during the past 20 years of playing, and I told myself that I would be careful.
And wouldn’t you know it, after about half an hour, I was unexpectedly struck squarely in my left eye by an extremely fast moving squash ball. The pain was excruciating and caused me to instantly drop to my knees. It didn’t’ take me long to realize that I had no vision in that eye, and knew that I would likely never see properly in that eye, again.
After getting my eye thoroughly checked out by two different optometrists in my office, using ultrasound scans, photos, and more; I was surprised to find out that there was no retinal detachment. I did have a severe corneal abrasion and I did have some bleeding in the iris, called hyphema; but fortunately these things healed after three weeks with no bad side effects other than a minor permanent corneal scar, causing slight distortion in the vision of that one eye. I feel very fortunate that I didn’t completely lose the vision in that eye. I was, indeed, very lucky.
Despite being diligent at wearing my sport glasses every time I played squash over the past twenty years, it only took one time of not wearing them for this injury to occur. I learned a lesson, and hope that all those who read this article will learn from my experience, rather than having to experience it, themselves.
ALWAYS WEAR YOUR SAFETY SPORT GLASSES WHEN PLAYING ANY KIND OF SPORTS!
Article Written By: Dr. Richard Nielson (an optometrist for the past 31 years)