Skip to content

    Eye Health Center

    Font Size

    Eyeglasses Can Be Hazardous

    Injuries Caused by Eyeglasses Send Thousands to Emergency Rooms Each Year

    WebMD Health News

    April 28, 2006 -- Eyeglasses may help you see better and avoid walking into trouble every day, but a new study shows failing to protect those specs during risky activities could put your eyes at risk.

    Researchers found injuries related to wearing eyeglasses sent an estimated 27,000 people to emergency rooms in the U.S. during a recent two-year period. More than 1,000 of those injured by their eyeglasses were admitted to the hospital for further treatment for their injuries.

    But researchers say the vast majority of these eyeglass-related injuries could have been prevented.

    "Some 90% of eye injuries are preventable with better education and appropriate use of safety eyewear during activities with a high risk of eye injury," says researcher Sara Sinclair, MPH, research associate at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Columbus Children's Hospital, in a news release.

    "While it can be quite costly to put special prescription lenses into already expensive, yet safe, frames, working-aged adults who work in hazardous areas may want to consider using protective safety goggles," says Sinclair. "For children who wear glasses, it's important that parents know that prescription eyeglasses aren't able to take the same kind of impact that sport-specific eyewear can. These kinds of glasses are typically much more flexible and impact-resistant.""

    Watch Those Eyeglasses

    Researchers say 60% of Americans wear prescription glasses, but there are few statistics on eyeglass-related injuries.

    In the study, researchers analyzed dates from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System to determine the number of injuries caused by eyeglasses treated in U.S. emergency departments from Jan. 1, 2002, to Dec. 31, 2006. They defined eyeglass-related injuries as traumatic events in which the glasses were directly involved in the injury and cases in which a foreign object entered the eye while the person was wearing eyeglasses.

    Applying their results to national estimates, the results showed that an estimated 27,152 injuries related to wearing glasses were treated in 2002 and 2003. Of those, 1,031 (4%) required admittance for further treatment.

    Injuries Vary by Age, Sex

    "We also found that injuries related to wearing glasses vary by age and gender," says researcher Huiyun Xiang, MD, MPH, assistant professor of pediatrics at Ohio State University, in the release.

    Today on WebMD

    Woman holding tissue to reddened eye
    Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatments.
    Simple annoyance or the sign of a problem?
    red eyes
    Symptoms, triggers, and treatments.
    blue eye with contact lens
    Tips for wearing and caring.
    Understanding Stye
    human eye
    eye exam timing
    vision test
    is vision correction surgery for you
    high tech contacts
    eye drop