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UK HealthCare ophthalmologist fishing injury risks and how to safely snag the big one

Fishing safety
Blog

/ by UK HealthCare

As summer heats up, fishing enthusiasts are headed to lakes, streams and other waterways across Kentucky in search of a trophy catch or the freshest of meals.

But a lovely fishing excursion can be quickly derailed by injury, especially one involving an eye.

We recently spoke with our own Dr. Andrew Pearson, UK HealthCare Advanced Eye Care ophthalmologist and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, about the injury risks involved with fishing.

What kind of fishing injuries are most common?

The injuries that occur while fishing are frequently severe. They can be broken down into two categories: injuries caused by blunt force, typically by sinkers, and penetrating injuries caused by the hooks. 

How do these injuries typically occur?

Almost all of the injuries are self-inflicted. In this scenario, the lure/hook is snagged on a distant object such as a tree limb, and the fisher is forcefully trying to free it. The combination of line stretch and rod bend causes the freed “bait” to return directly at the fisherman at high velocity, and if it strikes the eye bad things happen. 

I have seen sinkers cause serious injury while practicing casting in the yard trying to free the sinker from grass. I’ve also seen hooks through the cornea with the worm still attached and large lures with treble hooks through the eye wall. 

If someone is injured while fishing, what should they do?

If an injury occurs and the lure is in the eye, tape the line/lure to the face and seek medical care immediately. Removal can be complicated as the hooks are often barbed and require special maneuvers to remove. 

What’s the best way to protect yourself from injury while fishing?

The first step in prevention is to be aware that snagged lines pose significant danger. Also, always wear eye protection while fishing. Eye protection of some type would prevent the majority of injuries.

To speak with a UK HealthCare Advanced Eye Care provider or schedule an appointment, call 859-323-5867. You can also visit our website by clicking here.

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