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Eye Injuries in Pickleball: Protecting Your Vision

Every year, there are over 600,000 eye injuries that happen during recreational activities and sports. Shockingly, around 14,000 of these cases lead to permanent vision loss. Among these injuries, racket sports rank fourth as the cause. However, the good news is that about 90% of these eye injuries can be prevented by using protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses.

Eye Injuries in Pickleball
Eye Injuries in Pickleball: Protecting Your Vision

These lenses are highly resistant to impact and are available in both prescription and non-prescription options. They also provide protection against harmful UV rays. Losing or experiencing a change in vision can significantly impact your lifestyle, and it can have both social and financial consequences.

Pickleball, in particular, is considered a high-risk activity because it involves a ball and a paddle, both of which can potentially cause eye trauma. Eye injuries in pickleball can be classified into three different types:

  1. Blunt Trauma: This occurs when an object directly strikes your eye and is the most common type of injury. It can lead to fractures in the eye socket, a ruptured eyeball, bleeding within the eye (known as vitreous hemorrhage), or a detached retina. The retina is the sensitive part of the eye responsible for converting light into visual images, similar to a camera film.
  2. Penetrating Injuries: These occur when something cuts the eye, but they are rarely seen in racket sports unless eyeglasses are broken.
  3. Radiation Injuries: Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight can cause this type of injury. Prolonged exposure to UV light can result in eye damage, including cataracts, macular degeneration, and temporary vision loss. The closer you are to the equator and the higher the elevation, the greater the UV exposure. The hours between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. pose the highest risk of UV exposure. Certain medications, such as tetracycline, sulfa drugs, oral contraceptives, diuretics, and tranquilizers, can also increase sensitivity to UV radiation.

It's important to note that a pickleball can travel at approximately one-third the speed of a tennis ball, reaching speeds of around 40 MPH. When two players are at the no-volley line, it takes just 350-400 milliseconds (less than half a second) for the ball to travel from one paddle to the other. In other words, there's very little time to react and avoid being hit in the eye by the ball, Furthermore, apart from injuries caused by the ball, serious harm can also occur if you are struck in the eye by a paddle.

If you experience any eye trauma while playing pickleball, it's crucial to seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist if you notice a loss or change in vision, significant pain, bruising, or bleeding.


To enhance your vision on the pickleball court, consider using protective eyewear with shatterproof polycarbonate lenses that also offer UV protection.

Remember, taking proactive measures to safeguard your eyes during pickleball can prevent potentially life-altering injuries and ensure a continued enjoyment of the sport.

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