International Olympic Committee (IOC) consensus paper on sports-related ophthalmology issues in elite sports

BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2023 Jul 19;9(3):e001644. doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2023-001644. eCollection 2023.


Vision plays an important role in an athletes' success. In sports, nearly 80% of perceptual input is visual, and eye health and sports medicine are closely intertwined fields of utmost importance to athletes. The physical nature of sports activities renders individuals more prone to various eye injuries than the general population. Ocular trauma can lead to lifelong sequelae, and impaired vision requires careful follow-up and management. Apart from injuries, athletes may also experience vision problems that can hamper their performance, including blurred vision, double vision, and light sensitivity. The interdisciplinary nature of sports medicine necessitates collaboration between sports medicine professionals and ophthalmologists. Through such collaborations, athletes can receive appropriate eye care, education on proper eye protection and guidance on adopting good eye health practices. If any inconspicuous symptoms are not detected and treated promptly, athletes may acquire systemic injuries because of defective vision, preventing them from achieving high level athletic performance in competitions. The protection of the elite athlete is the responsibility of all of us in sports medicine. To advance a more unified, evidence-informed approach to ophthalmic health assessment and management in athletes and as relevant for sports medicine physicians, the International Olympic Committee Consensus Group aims for a critical evaluation of the current state of the science and practice of ophthalmologic issues and illness in high-level sports, and present recommendations for a unified approach to this important issue.

Keywords: Eye; Injuries; Knowledge translation.