Print Edition - 2019-05-02  |  Health and Living

Badminton players at risk for eye injuries

  • Sport frights

May 2, 2019-

Badminton players may be at high risk for serious eye injuries, many of which can bring on permanent vision problems or blindness, according to a study of wounds treated at a Beijing hospital.

Whether inflicted by an errant shuttlecock or someone else’s racket, the majority of eye injuries in the study occurred among doubles players and were mostly caused by the injured person’s partner, the authors report in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

“More and more lay players in the badminton practice have been found injured... in recent years,” said senior study author Dr Yi Liu of Capital Medical University in Beijing.

Badminton has become a popular outdoor exercise in China because it’s easy to start anywhere and is inexpensive, yet the number of associated eye injuries has increased, he said. In fact, badminton is a leading cause of sports-related eye injuries in Southeast Asia and accounts for two-thirds of sports-related eye injuries in Malaysia, Liu noted.

“Badminton is great for both fun and exercise,” he said. “Compared to other popular sports such as football and basketball, we saw it as less aggressive and combative and therefore a safe outside exercise.”

Liu and colleagues analysed the medical records for 85 patients treated between 2011 and 2017 at Beijing Tongren Hospital for badminton-related eye injuries.

The patients ranged in age from 15 to 65. Injured players had an average of eight years of experience playing badminton, and half said they were unaware of the high risk of the game.

In 60 of the 85 cases, the player was hit by the shuttlecock, or birdie. In the other cases, the player was hit by the racquet. About 85 percent of the injuries occurred in doubles matches, and 60 percent were caused by the player’s partner.

“People playing badminton should use wraparound, protective plastic safety glasses over their regular spectacles, similar to what people working with sheet metal use, or goggles,” said Dr. Simon Skalicky of the Eye Surgery Associates in Melbourne, Australia, who also wasn’t involved in the study.

Published: 02-05-2019 11:30

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