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Ocular pathology in padel

por Francisco García

You know the saying that four eyes see more than two, in padel this is indispensable.

An eye injury in any player can result in the end of the match at that very moment as they are usually very disabling and decisive when it comes to playing.

As a curiosity, padel balls are like tennis balls in terms of size, shape and diameter; the difference between the two lies in the fact that padel balls have about 0.06 atmospheres less pressure than tennis balls, which is why their bounce is lower and not as fast. Even so, it generates a high speed in its stroke, being able to reach up to 180 km/h.

Orbital Trauma

This type of accident is the most frequent in this set of injuries.

The MECHANISM OF ACTION is usually by a “hit of the ball “, as the padel ball has a diameter of between 6.35 and 6.77 centimetres.

Being slightly larger than the orbital cavity of the eye in most cases, the ball usually hits the bony rim of the eye at one of its boundaries: supraorbital (frontal bone), medial rim (maxillary bone), infraorbital rim (zygomatic bone + maxilla) or lateral rim (zygomatic bone + frontal bone).

Although more infrequent, it can occur from a hit with the racket itself or a partner’s racket on a split ball.

It can cause anything from bone oedema to even a fracture if the intensity is significant. In any case, the DIAGNOSIS would be radiological, either an X-ray or a CAT scan. In more serious cases, it can lead to retinal detachment or even dislocation of the crystalline lens, which are very disabling and permanent injuries.

TREATMENT in mild cases would be local cold together with an anti-inflammatory and/or analgesic, while severe cases would be treated by specialists in OFALMOLOGICAL EMERGENCIES.

Corneal Erosions / Ulcers

Trauma from a ball, even if it is of minimal impact, can cause a lack of integrity of the corneal surface. The cornea is the outermost layer of the eyeball along with the sclera. Depending on the severity and/or depth of the injury it may be called ‘corneal exfoliation’, corneal erosion or corneal ulcer.

SYMPTOMS are usually pain, foreign body sensation, severe photophobia and blepharospasm. The player starts to tear, has a gritty sensation along with pain and cannot open the eyelid because light bothers him/her so much.

DIAGNOSIS is simple, as in Ophthalmological Emergencies a local anaesthetic and a yellowish dye called fluorescein would be applied. At this point we can make a diagnosis of certainty with the slit lamp with blue light, visualising the lesions on the surface that capture the dye.

TREATMENT is based on occluding the eye and using eye drops and/or antibiotic ointments to proliferate the damaged cells. Sometimes it involves the removal of a foreign body such as the ‘fluff’ around a padel ball or even silica sand from the court that can detach from the ball.

Irritative Conjunctivitis

It is defined as inflammation of the conjunctival mucosa that usually produces a ‘gritty sensation’, hyperaemia (“red eye”), without frank pain and, above all, tearing. It is sometimes accompanied by a discharge known as a discharge known as “mucus”.

This causes great difficulty when practising padel, as, together with perspiration, it can generate a significant sensation of eye discomfort.

Long-term exposure to dry air, either through heating or air conditioning, can favour its exposure.

TREATMENT would be the use of artificial tears without preservatives, refrigerated, if possible, as in addition to helping dry eyes, they have an anti-inflammatory effect due to the cold.


Although we have already discussed the possible prevention of each pathology, we could recapitulate it in several points:

  • The use of suitable photochromic goggles should protect us from both trauma and UV radiation from the sun. Other essential features we should look for are that they are light, stable, enveloping and with a suitable filter to reduce reflections.
  • The use of wristbands, straps or fleece to prevent sweat from reaching the eyes is essential to prevent both irritant and infectious conjunctivitis. It is very important not to rub the eyes as this can complicate an initially minor injury.
  • Adequate lighting of the night court, nowadays this problem is almost solved as most of the indoor and outdoor facilities are fantastic. If this is not the case, take special care.
  • Use special sunscreens for sportsmen and women, they usually have a particularly light texture and are quickly absorbed without residue. Otherwise it could end up melting on the skin and, by accident, fall into the eyes and irritate them.

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