Spike in paintball eye injuries

Eye trauma from BB, pellet and paintball guns increased by 170% over two decades in the US, despite an overall decline in childhood eye injuries


A new study published in Pediatrics has found that almost 442,000 children were treated in US emergency departments for recreation-related eye injuries between 1990 and 2012.

While the overall rate of eye injuries resulting from sports declined slightly over the period, the rate of injury from non-powder guns increased by nearly 170% over the two decades. Non-powder guns include BB, pellet and paintball guns.

Non-powder gun injuries accounted for 11% of recreation-related eye injuries over the period and almost half of hospitalisations.

Of the hospitalisations, 79% were linked to BB or pellet guns and about 19% were caused by paintball guns.

The authors called for increased eye injury prevention efforts, particularly in relation to the use of non-powder guns.

“Increased child, parent, and coach education, as well as adoption of rules that mandate the use of eye protective equipment should be undertaken,” they emphasised.