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    Seasons change but athletic eye injuries occur year-round

    In his poem, “Locksley Hall,” Alfred Lord Tennyson provided a key insight into the male mind with the famous line “in the spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” This distinguishes it from the other seasons of summer, fall and winter, during which the young man's fancy is focused on gardening, beer, and macramé, respectively.

    Recent: How to choose a subspecialty in ophthalmology

    I'm just kidding, of course. Anyone who has spent much time with young men realizes this segment of the population has a consistent preoccupation with . . . let's call it “romance” no matter the time of year.

    But autumn is upon us and football is now a close second in the minds of young American males. And that means beer, bratwurst, and globe injuries.

    Related: Why pediatric ophthalmologists don't go to late night parties

    According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 100,000 people injure their eyes while playing sports each year. About one in seven of these athletes will suffer permanent vision loss.

    Early in my own career as an ophthalmologist, I cared for a star professional football player whose days on the gridiron came to a premature conclusion when the thumb of one of his own teammates perforated his eye during a practice session.

    More: What’s the cost of a human life?

    After successful retinal re-attachment and penetrating keratoplasty, the eye had useful vision but could not be exposed to the risk of further trauma.

    What will it take?

    Peter J. McDonnell, MD
    He is director of The Wilmer Eye Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, and chief medical editor of ...

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