Every 13 minutes, an emergency room treats a sports eye injury, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. In honor of National Sports Eye Safety Month, we wanted to share a few tips on what to do when an eye injury occurs during your sport of choice.

The highest risk sports for eye injuries are baseball, martial arts, racquet sports and basketball. Baseball is the most common cause of sports-related eye injuries in children ages 5 to 14 whereas basketball is the most common cause of sports eye injuries in people ages 15 to 64.

Another startling start: 41 percent of eye injuries among kids age 10-14 in the ER are related to sports products according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

How do I prevent eye injuries in sports?

Wearing proper eye protection is really the best way to mitigate the chances of an eye injury while playing sports. About 90 percent of eye injuries can be prevented by using protective eyewear, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Protective eyewear includes safety glasses and goggles, safety shields and eye guards.

Choosing the proper eye protection doesn’t mean wearing sunglasses. Non-shatterproof sunglasses can be more dangerous than not wearing eye protection at all because if they’re hit, pieces can end up in the eye.

Playing with glasses? Wearing polycarbonate lenses is an important part of proper eye protection. These lenses are strong, shatterproof and lightweight.

What are the most common types of eye injuries from sports?

The most common types of injuries from sports are blunt trauma, penetrating injuries and radiation injury from sunlight.

Blunt trauma occurs when something hits someone in the eye. Penetrating injuries occur something something cuts into the eye and radiation injury from sunlight occurs when someone is exposed to ultraviolet light from the sun and happens most often in snow and water sports.

What do I do if there is an eye injury on the field?
There are different ways to treat eye injuries depending on what kind of injury occurs. Making sure that a first aid kit is stocked with an eye shield and commercial eye wash before an eye injury happens is crucial. No matter what eye injury occurs, be sure to visit your eye doctor after to ensure further damage did not occur.

For all eye injuries:

Do not touch, rub or apply pressure to the eye
Do not try to remove an object stuck in they eye

For specks in the eye:

Do not rub the eye
Let tears wash out the speck or use eyewash
Lift the upper eyelid outward and down over the lower lid

For blows to the eye:

Apply a cold compress, but do not apply pressure
If you sustain a black eye, pain or visual disturbance, contact your doctor immediately

For cuts and punctures:

Do not wash the eye out with water
Avoid using aspirin or ibuprofen right away because these drugs thin the blood
Cover the eye with a shield but do not apply pressure
Contact your doctor as soon as you can