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Children Eye Injuries Related To Air Guns On The Rise

A study recently found in the journal Pediatrics indicates that eye injuries linked to non-powder guns (i.e. paintball, BB, and pellet), also referred to as air guns, has increased. In fact, from 1990-2012, the rate of these injuries linked to non-powder guns has jumped by just over 168 percent in the U.S. during this time.

In fact, CNN reported that the most common recreation and sport-related eye injuries occurred in kids, while playing softball, basketball, baseball, or using air guns.

Director of the Center for Injury Research and senior author of the research report, Dr. Gary Smith, relayed that the study’s findings reveal that these recreation and sport-related eye injuries can be severe and are very common.

While these recreation and sport activities provide adequate health benefits to kids, Smith also states that there is a need for additional eye protection during these games. While eye protection is recommended for both basketball and paint-ball type activities, it not required.
Smith suggests that a culture change within sports where kids are required to use eye protection may be needed in order to help avoid eye injuries and keep children active in specific sports in the future.

The recent research gathered numbers on kids 17 years of age or younger who visited emergency departments in hospitals across America from 1990-2012 for recreation and sport-related eye injuries. The figures revealed that approximately 19,209 kids were treated for such injuries annually and there was a minor decline overall when it came to eye-related injuries.

Still, Smith notes that eye injuries linked to non-powder guns, such as paintball, pellet, and BB, had jumped by close to 170 percent and accounted for 11 percent of eye injuries and close to half of the hospitalization that occurred during the 1990-2012 time period.

The rate of air gun-related eye injuries in 1990 were at about 1.61 for each 100,000 kids; while in 2012, it bolted up to 4.34.

It’s important to note the study’s limitation, which were that data was only provided by emergency department treatment numbers; therefore, individuals that went to urgent care or any other healthcare facilities for their eye injuries may have been excluded.

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