Purpose: To describe the clinical characteristics and management of retinal injuries caused by soccer ball impact as well as the mechanism of injury, prognostic features, risk factors, and possible prevention strategies.
Methods: Thirteen cases of soccer ball injuries from retina referral practices were retrospectively reviewed, with attention to the mechanism of associated ocular complications and the anatomic and visual outcomes.
Results: Soccer ball injuries occurred in both male and female patients (9 male, 4 female) with ages ranging from 8 to 21 years (median 14 years). These patients were observed from 0 to 64 months (median follow-up, 8 months). Four patients had traumatic macular holes, two eyes had retinal detachment associated with retinal dialysis, two had retinal tears associated with hemorrhage, one had a choroidal rupture, and one had only vitreous hemorrhage and Berlin's edema. Although six eyes had some degree of traumatic retinal pigment epitheliopathy, it was the primary diagnosis in only three. Visual acuity at presentation ranged from 20/20 to count fingers, with 7/13 (54%) having 20/200 or worse vision. Seven eyes underwent surgical procedures; the remainder were observed. Final visions ranged from 20/20 to count fingers, with 3/13 (23%) having 20/200 or worse vision. Six eyes (46%) improved by two or more lines by the last follow-up.
Conclusion: Soccer ball-related ocular injuries disproportionately affect young players, are more frequent in females than previously reported, and have more severe visual consequences than previously recognized. Injury prevention strategies to minimize contact between the eye and the soccer ball may reduce the incidence and severity of eye injuries.