Wear protective goggles to play badminton as eye experts warn of 'irreversible ...

It's not normally considered a risky sport, considering there is no physical contact. 

But badminton players should always wear safety goggles to play because they could end up blind, researchers have warned.

Flying shuttlecocks and the racquets of fellow sportsmen can cause injury that needs surgery and even blindness.

And those that play doubles are particularly at 'high risk' of a serious eye injury than singles players, the experts said. 

There are no rules imposing protective eye wear, and professional players suggest it should remain that way because injury is so rare. 

Badminton players should always wear safety goggles to play because they could end up blind, researchers in Beijing have warned

Badminton players should always wear safety goggles to play because they could end up blind, researchers in Beijing have warned

The researchers, at Capital Medical University, Beijing, added that people with impaired sight shouldn't play at all. 

Dr Yi Liu, study co-author, said: 'Use of protective eye wear is highly recommended, based on expert professional guidance, safety education and awareness of the ocular injuries that can occur. 

'Over the past 40 years, it has been repeatedly reported that none of those injured were wearing protective eyewear while playing badminton, and we report the same experience.' 

Shuttlecocks impose a danger because they are small and dense and usually travel at high speed, and in close proximity to players. 

Dr Liu and the team gathered information from 52 men and 33 women, who had sustained an eye injury during a badminton match in the six years between 2011 and 2017.

The study participants were aged between 15 and 65, and had been playing badminton for an average of seven years. None were professionals.

In five of the total cases, the injury was penetrating which is considered a 'trauma' that can cause permanent vision loss. 

In one case, the victim became blind in the injured eye, according to the paper published online by the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

WHY IS A SHUTTLECOCK SO DANGEROUS? 

Badminton has been classified as a high risk sport for ocular injuries by Sports Medicine Australia due to the small, dense shuttlecock that travels at such high speed in close proximity to players. 

The impact of the shuttlecock depends on the distance from the player hitting the shot.

Because of their aerodynamics, badminton shuttlecocks move quickly, and severe blunt eye injuries occur when the distance between players is small.

Players may turn to face their doubles partner and be hit by a shuttlecock at close proximity. 

It is much less known that badminton shuttlecocks can cause significant permanent vision loss compared to tennis balls, according to a Canadian study

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