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60-year-old man suffers scleral laceration in drone accident

“I do not want my accident to cause a demonisation of drones, but we must remember that we need to respect the safety rules”


A 60-year-old patient suffered injuries to his eye and face after he lost control of the drone he was operating.

Writing in BMJ Case Reports, clinicians describe how the man presented to hospital with several lacerations to his eyelid and skin after being struck by his own four-propeller racing drone. 

Further examination of the patient’s left eye revealed a partial scleral laceration, conjunctival laceration, traumatic iritis and displacement of an intraocular lens from a previous cataract operation. His vision was limited to hand movements in the injured eye.

The clinicians applied sutures to the wounds and the patient received oral antibiotics as well as antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops.

Four months after the accident, the patient’s vision had improved to 6/30 in his left eye.

The case report authors highlighted: “In the last decade, drone use has significantly increased, and drone-related injuries have become an emerging cause of trauma. Our case raises awareness of the risks and highlights the need for improvement in regulation of drone use.”

The patient, who was an experienced racing drone pilot, admitted making an error in not sticking to the safety distances for take-off and landing procedures when the accident occurred.

“I do not want my accident to cause a demonisation of drones, but we must remember that we need to respect the safety rules. When you follow these rules, accidents are less likely to happen,” he said.