What to Do After an Eye Injury


Some common signs or symptoms following a sports related eye injury include, but are not limited to, a sudden decrease in or loss of vision, tenderness, pain on movement of the eye, an eye that is swollen shut, light sensitivity, double vision, flashing lights, floaters ( i.e., spots in your vision), and severe redness or blood around the white part of the eye or blood poling near the iris (colored part) of the eye.

Immediately following an eye injury:

  • DO NOT try to treat it yourself or remove something from your eye
  • DO NOT touch, rub or apply pressure to your eye because that can make the injury worse
  • DO NOT apply ointment or medication to the eye
  • DO NOT take aspirin, ibuprofen or other non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs until after checking with your doctor. These drugs thin the blood and may increase bleeding.
  • DO seek proper medical attention as soon as possible. Early diagnosis can lead to appropriate treatment and/or referral to a specialist if necessary. Left untreated, eye/vision disorders can have serious consequences.

If you notice any changes in vision following an eye injury don’t ignore them: Immediately contact your eye care professional. 

College football player having senior doctor review his concussion injury.

Return to Play

Based on consensus and some research evidence, any young athlete with a significant eye injury, visual changes, or abnormal findings on eye examination results should not return to play until evaluated by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.5

When you return to sports, make sure you wear proper eye protection.


The International Sports Vision Association is committed to helping reduce the risk of traumatic vision and head-related injuries through education about protective devices and equipment.  This important health information has been made available thanks to an educational grant provided by  Zyloware Eyewear.  Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by ISVA.