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Br J Sports Med. 2002 Dec;36(6):428-30.

Ophthalmological findings in elite amateur Turkish boxers.

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  • 1Gazi University School of Physical Education and Sports, Ankara, Turkey.



To evaluate the nature and incidence of pathological ocular conditions in boxing.


A group of 20 active, elite, amateur, asymptomatic Turkish boxers were examined and compared with a control group composed of 20 age matched sportsmen who were not boxers. The boxers had been actively boxing for 5-20 years (mean 9.65), were aged 16-34 (mean 22.25), and weighed 51-91 kg (mean 73.07). They had been involved in 67-500 fights (mean 143.8), with 5-40 losses (mean 17.75). All were championship title holders at the national, European, Olympic, or World level.


An atrophic retinal hole was found in one boxer, which was treated with laser prophylaxis. In this series, the incidence of traumatic eye injuries was much lower than in the literature. Possible reasons are their young age, their division being mainly lightweight or middleweight, few fight losses, being elite boxers, their fighting distance being near or distant, protective methods, and racial factors.


Boxing does not appear to be as hazardous to the eyes as previously reported, but prospective, longitudinal studies need to be carried out, including boxers of all divisions, ages, boxing experience, and level, and using various methods of fighting and protection. It should be made mandatory for all boxers to have a complete ophthalmological examination at the beginning of their careers and periodically thereafter.

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