Sports Eye Safety Month: Chippewa Valley men share their stories about dangers of eye injuries

Eau Claire (WQOW) – Keep your eye on the ball? Or, in a minute, maybe you’ll be thinking just the opposite trying to figure out how to keep your eyes away from balls, bats, and rackets.

April is “Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month”. If there’s something worth looking after, it’s your eyes. One small accident can create a lifetime of potential problems.

A dart is to blame for the blindness in Bob Rubenzer’s right eye, and a sudden poke continues to provoke change for Dan Jasurda.

“So, I was going for a rebound, and the guy just caught my eye,” Jasurda said. “Every morning when I wake up, basically, the skin on my eye catches with my eye lid, and I have to rub out in a circular motion to detach the skin until basically it un-catches from my eyelid,” Jasurda said.

Dr. Rebecca Kabat, the optometrist at River Valley Vision in Eau Claire, said any blunt trauma to the eye can cause you to run the risk of the eye compressing. “When it bends in and pulls back out, the retina can detach and that’s the inside lining of your eye which is responsible for your vision,” Dr. Kabat said.

From darts to buckets, and especially sports with rackets, the American Academy of Ophthalmology puts sports, like these at the top of the list for aiding in potential eye injuries. “I hit myself, and I split my eyebrow, and I think there’s a split in my eyebrow to this day,” said Mike Oneill, who plays racquetball at the Eau Claire YMCA.

According to AAO, every year more than 40,000 athletes suffer from some time of an eye injury. Denae Murmer, the optical supervisor at Chippewa Valley Eye Clinic, said eye injuries can be prevented. “90% of injuries with your eyes can be prevented with proper eye wear,” Murmer said.

If you’d like to have protective eye wear for your sport, look for something that’s ASTM standard, which Murmer said is a label that indicates the eyewear is made for sports.

After all, Dr. Kabat said your eyes are the only pair you get and cannot be replaced.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends choosing eye protectors that have been tested to meet the American Society of Testing and Materials Standard (ASTM).

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