By Michelle October with expertise from Mellins i-Style
Like it or not, your weekend mountain biking adventures could get you into trouble. And we’re not talking scrapes and bruises — your eyes could be damaged. Here’s the DL on how it could be damaged, and what to do.
Scary Ways You Can Damage Your Eyes
We know it’s a bad, bad world out there. Extreme sports like snowboarding or bungee jumping are obviously dangerous, risky sports. But other activities that seem relatively harmless like skateboarding, paintball, rugby or mountain biking, could be putting your peepers at risk. Here’s how:
Blunt force trauma. Not just a term used on Law & Order. Hit your head on something and the sudden increase in pressure could push your eye backwards (squirm!). You could dislocate the lens and retina.
Corneal scarring. Picture this: you’re taking a leisurely cycle through the Cape vineyards one Sunday afternoon when a rogue leaf attacks your eyeball, causing your cornea (the dome covering the coloured part of your eye) to be scarred. If that leaf was extra aggressive, you could be looking at a cornea transplant. Eek.
Retinal and subconjunctival haemorrhages. Know how when you’re on an airplane and your ears pop from the air pressure? Same with bungee jumping and your ogglers. A sudden increase of blood to the head can cause tiny haemorrhages.
Photo keratitis. Not a shampoo brand. Excess exposure to UV light could cause corneal inflammation and even a temporary loss of vision. (!!)
Signs Your Peepers Need Help
If your eyes are in pain, experiencing blurred or double vision, or even loss of vision, they could be injured. Also pay attention to a scratchy feeling in your eyes, or a sensation that you’re seeing small particles floating around. Tick any of these boxes? Get yourself to an ophthalmologist, stat. Barring that, go to the nearest optometrist and take it from there.
Protect Your Eyes
If you’re doing an extreme sport, it’s crucial to be protected. Look for safety goggles, they’re usually 3mm thick and will protect your eyes. If you’re just lazing around, protect your eyes from UV damage by getting UV400 sunglasses – they’ll block 99 to 100% of UV rays. If you’re going to do an outdoor sport, get something that’ll block surface glare, like polarised sunglasses.
Want more? Here are 7 Common Mistakes That Can Really Hurt Your Eyes.