Pediatric eye injuries due to nonpowder guns in the United States, 2002-2012

Rachel Lee, Douglas Fredrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Purpose To identify epidemiologic trends in nonpowder gun-related pediatric eye injuries and to determine factors associated with severe injury requiring hospital admission. Methods US emergency department data on pediatric eye injuries between 2002 and 2012 were reviewed using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. Literature review was conducted to determine trends in visual outcomes after treatment and use of eye protection. Results In 2012 roughly 3,161 children were treated in US emergency departments for nonpowder gun-related eye injuries. Since 2010 rates of severe nonpowder gun pediatric eye injury have increased by over 500% (P = 0.039). Specifically, while rates of hospital admission due to paintball gun eye injury have dropped precipitously (P = 0.0077), rates of admissions for air gun eye injuries have increased by over 600% since 2010 (P = 0.033). Children sustaining eye injury due to air guns are more likely to be diagnosed and admitted with foreign body or ocular puncture injury. Roughly 28% of documented cases of airsoft or BB gun-related injury had visual acuity worse than 20/50 after initial treatment. Over 98% of injuries occurred without eye protection. Conclusions Air guns are rising in popularity and now account for the majority of pediatric eye injuries requiring hospital admissions. These eye injuries occur without ocular protection and may lead to permanent eye injury. Increasing regulations for eye protection, sales, and usage of air guns are needed to prevent serious pediatric eye injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-168.e1
JournalJournal of AAPOS
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Ophthalmology


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