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 July 23, 2003
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Soccer Players Need Protective Eyewear
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PORTO, Portugal (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A new study supports the need for protective eyewear designed specifically for soccer players. The research finds eye injuries are common at all skill levels of soccer players.

Soccer is the most common cause of sports-related eye injuries in Europe and Israel. In the United States, the incidence of soccer-related eye injuries increased by more than 260 percent from 1973 to 1978. During this time, soccer became very popular with school-aged children. Authors of the study comment, "It is possible that soccer may become worldwide the most common cause of sports eye injury."

Researchers from the University of Porto School of Medicine in Porto, Portugal, conducted a study to determine the severity and long-term effects of eye injuries among soccer players. The study included 163 patients who suffered a soccer- related eye injury between 1992 and 2000. Researchers focused on how the injury happened, where it happened, and visual damage.

The study reports 51 percent of the injuries happened to young men while playing indoor soccer and 47 percent happened to men playing outdoor soccer. Most of the injuries occurred from a kicked ball near the goalpost. Researchers also say most of the injuries happened to the upper, outside of the eye. They say there was no association found between the severity of the injury and the age, sex, type of soccer, level of athletic expertise, or player position.

Authors of the study conclude severe eye injuries can occur in soccer players at all skill levels. They say laboratory models are needed to determine why the injuries often happen in the upper, outside of the eye. They add this study supports the need for soccer players to wear protective eyewear.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.

SOURCE: Archives of Ophthalmology, 2003;121:687-694

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