Eye-Related Injuries To Children Caused By Air Guns Increase


There is a growing concern over the rise of the number of small children in the USA whose eyes are being damaged by air guns. The menace increased to approximately 169% from 1990 to 2012. This is not a healthy phenomenon because medical professionals also reported that most of the time a kid gets wounded in the eye, adults are not there.

A good example of such cases can be traced to 10 years ago. This particular victim was just 12 years of age when he was playing paintball on the field somewhere in New Hampshire with his goggles on. When he was hit the first time, he wanted to clean the paint stain on the lens. He took it off for cleaning when he was struck with another air gun bullets for the second time. That was all that he needed to become a regular visitor to Dr. Fredrick’s hospital with the case of air gun eye problem.

Dr. Fredrick, a professor of clinical ophthalmology at the University of Stanford,  said that the absence of the goggles exposed the boy’s eyes to the paintball assault and he lost one eye to the incidence. He described the boy’s case as a sad one.

He recalled that he worked desperately with his team to save the eye by stitching it back to place, but the components of the eyeball were scattered. There was no other solution than to detach the eye.

Today, that 12-year-old boy is now a grown man with one good eye, and he uses glasses. Dr. Fredrick said the trauma caused by the damage still lingers and it’s a pointer to the increased rate of air gun damages.

Young man with an eye injury caused by a paintball gun

1. Kids most times get injured in the eye during sports

A statistics showed that in the US, from 1990 to 2012, there was an alarming rise in the number of eye damage cases that are caused by guns without powder like paintball, pellet, and BB, with a percentage of 168.8%. The results of the survey were recently released in one pediatrics journal.

The study revealed that the 23 years duration witnessed torrents of eye damages in kids which they incurred during sporting activities and leisure exercises. Eye damages usually happen when baseball, softball and basketball games are on-going and when the kids are entertaining themselves with powder-free guns.

2. Medical experts caution against the use of Nerf guns due to its harmful tendency to the eye

According to another statistics published from the desk of the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System,  a survey was done on some under 18-year-olds who had received treatments in emergency units of health centers and eye clinics between 1990 and 2012, due to eye damages caused by sports activities all over the US.

Nerf is popular with both young and older children and is marketed heavily in TV and social media

The outcome disclosed that the standard number of child patients who reported yearly for eye damage issues were 19,324. However, a small increment in the total number of the eye-related problem was recorded.

As good as the data sounds, certain demerits can be spotted in the documents. Only data collated on eye problems that were handled by emergency units were used, leaving out those handled by other health-care means like urgent care.

Also, those who carried out the research could not provide reasons behind the noticeable boost in the eye-damage cases caused by powder-free guns, although some experts seem to have clues.

3. Is there any difference between real guns and air guns?

Trying to answer this question, a professional in sports and medicine who works in one children hospital in Texas, Dr. Jorge Gomez, said that air guns are rapidly growing faster in the market and this means that the weapon is in many people’s possession.

He added that 89% of the affected children don’t usually have any grown up around them when they get wounded in the eyes from airguns, but the remaining 11% are lucky to have adults close to them. Sadly, he says, that percentage has even declined over the past 17 years. Obviously, two factors can be blamed; the high rate of how guns are being sold in the market and the inefficiencies of mature people who are supposed to monitor the usage and handling of these harmful objects.

A training ground for the air gun

Certainly, children need thorough coordination and supervision from adults. The kids must be compelled to have their eye goggle on to shield them from injuries caused by air guns, and they must not remove it until they are through with their activities.

Also, parents must ensure that their kids only handle paintball guns at recreational centers where safety measures on the use of the objects are set up, Pediatrics Academy of America warns. The organization advised that protective eyeglasses that meet health standards must be used when paintball guns are involved.

Dr. Jorge recommended that protective goggles must be worn both by parents and their children whenever such firearms are being used anywhere. Parents should be ready all the time to monitor their kids when they are playing with air guns.