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Soccer (football) ocular injuries: An important eye health problem
  1. J A Capão Filipe
  1. Correspondence to: J A Capão Filipe Sports Ophthalmology Unit, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Porto School of Medicine, S João Hospital, 4200-319 Porto, Portugal; jacapaofilipenetcabo.pt

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Laboratory experiments have confirmed the mechanism of soccer ball eye injury and the feasibility of a protective eyewear in soccer

The ideal scenario for a sports (or any other) eye injury is for it never to have happened. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “injury is probably the most unrecognized major health problem facing the nation today, and the study of injury presents unparalleled opportunities for reducing morbidity and mortality and for realizing significant savings in both financial and human terms—all in return for a relatively modest investment.”1 The social cost of eye trauma, the most common ophthalmic indication for hospitalisation, is enormous. National projections estimate annual US hospital charges of $175 million to $200 million for 227 000 eye trauma hospital days.2 Tan, in a recent BJO editorial, commented on prevention of blindness programmes, and stated that “let us then remind ourselves of prevention of blindness programmes which have the potential to do the greatest good for the most people.”3 By carefully evaluating the underlying mechanisms, patterns, and rates of injury in a given sport, it is possible to design and implement extremely effective preventive programmes.

Soccer ocular injury is an important eye health problem in Europe and probably worldwide.4–18 In these series, contrary to previous ophthalmology teaching that eye injuries are rarely caused by balls larger than 4 inches in diameter, the large diameter soccer ball was responsible for most soccer injuries. In 1994, Vinger focused on some pertinent questions related to soccer eye injuries.19 “How is sufficient energy transmitted from …

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