This study aims to represent the epidemiologies, findings, treatments, use of resources, outcomes and protective-eyewear-use recommendations in sports-related eye injuries by sport type.
The study population is comprised of all new eye injury patients in 1 year in Helsinki University Eye Hospital. Data were collected from patient questionnaires and hospital records. The follow-up period was 3 months.
149/1151 (12.9%) of eye injuries were sports-related. Thirty two percent were related to floorball (type of hockey played on a mat with a stick and a ball); football, tennis and ice hockey were the next most common eye-injury-causing sports. Relatively, the most dangerous sports were rink bandy, (bandy played on ice hockey rink with a stick and a ball) (0.50 injuries in 12 months/1000 participants, CI 0.10-1.46), floorball (0.47, CI 0.34-0.62) and tennis (0.47, CI 0.26-0.77). Contusion was the primary diagnosis in 77% of cases; 41% of contusion patients had severe, mainly retinal findings. The number of outpatient visits was 459; inpatient days 25 and major surgeries 31. One hundred and eight patients were estimated to need life-long follow-up. Seventeen patients had a permanent functional impairment, 4 in ice hockey, 3 in floorball, 2 each in tennis and badminton.
Compared to a previous study, ice hockey eye injuries are increasing and relatively severe, and a third of these injuries occurred despite visor use. Floorball eye injury incidence has significantly declined, mainly due to recently enforced mandatory protective eyewear for younger age groups. Based on these findings, we recommend, in floorball, that protective eyewear should be mandatory in all age groups. Universally in ice hockey, the proper use of a visor should be emphasised.