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Ocular injury in hurling
  1. T H Flynn1,
  2. K Fennessy2,
  3. N Horgan2,
  4. B Walsh2,
  5. E O’Connell1,
  6. P Cleary1,
  7. S Beatty2
  1. 1Cork University Hospital, Cork, Ireland
  2. 2Waterford Regional Hospital, Waterford, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to:
 Mr Flynn
 Department of Ophthalmology, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Republic of Ireland;


Objectives: To describe the clinical characteristics of ocular injuries sustained in hurling in the south of Ireland and to investigate reasons for non-use of protective headgear and eye wear.

Methods: Retrospective review of the case notes of 310 patients who attended Cork University Hospital or Waterford Regional Hospital between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 2002 with ocular injuries sustained during a hurling match. A confidential questionnaire on reasons for non-use of protective headgear and eye wear was completed by 130 players.

Results: Hurling related eye injuries occurred most commonly in young men. Fifty two patients (17%) required hospital admission, with hyphaema accounting for 71% of admissions. Ten injuries required intraocular surgical intervention: retinal detachment repair (5); macular hole surgery (1); repair of partial thickness corneal laceration (1); repair of globe perforation (1); enucleation (1); trabeculectomy for post-traumatic glaucoma (1). Fourteen eyes (4.5%) had a final best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) of <6/12 and six (2%) had BCVA <3/60. In the survey, 63 players (48.5%) reported wearing no protective facemask while playing hurling. Impairment of vision was the most common reason cited for non-use.

Conclusions: Hurling related injury is a significant, and preventable, cause of ocular morbidity in young men in Ireland. The routine use of appropriate protective headgear and faceguards would result in a dramatic reduction in the incidence and severity of these injuries, and should be mandatory.

  • hurling
  • eye
  • ocular
  • trauma
  • injury

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  • Competing interests: none declared

  • Consent has been given for the publication of figure 2.