Boxing and the eyes: morphological aspects of the ocular system in boxers

Eur J Ophthalmol. 1997 Apr-Jun;7(2):174-80. doi: 10.1177/112067219700700210.


Among all sports, the so-called "contact sports" are those in which the athlete's eye is particularly at risk. In boxing, where the face is the main target, the eye is clearly one of the most exposed parts. To assess the eye risks in this sport a study was carried out between 1992 and 1994 at the Ophthalmological Clinic of the university of Turin, Italy, involving 75 active and ex-boxers (amateurs and professionals) aged 15 to 70 years. Biomicroscopic examinations, refraction and acuity tests, tonometry, exophthalmometry, gonioscopy, ocular fundus examination with Goldmann three-mirror lens) were done. The results of the survey confirm the existence of alterations, generally asymptomatic, both in amateur and professional boxers. The eye examination showed alterations of structures such as the orbital arch, conjunctiva, iris, lens, retina. Four boxers had retinal detachment, three of them due to boxing. The opthalmologist has an important part to play in preventing serious damage to the eye and in checking alterations which might be an expression of subtle neural damage (pupillary alterations).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Boxing / injuries*
  • Conjunctiva / injuries
  • Eye Injuries / etiology
  • Eye Injuries / pathology*
  • Eye Injuries / prevention & control
  • Gonioscopy
  • Humans
  • Iris / injuries
  • Lens, Crystalline / injuries
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orbit / injuries
  • Refraction, Ocular
  • Retina / injuries
  • Retinal Detachment / etiology
  • Retinal Detachment / pathology
  • Tonometry, Ocular
  • Visual Acuity