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You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out, Kid – Really!

December 26, 2019

Written by Clay Smith

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The rate of non-powder firearm (i.e. BB*, airsoft, paintball) injuries has decreased overall in the past few decades, but eye injuries have increased – many of the them quite severe.

Why does the matter?
This type of injury mechanism is relatively common – you will see this in the ED. But mostly, I just couldn’t help myself the day after Christmas. Plus, who wants a heavy article today anyway? So, enjoy this clip of Ralphie from The Christmas Story.

How about a nice football?
Non-powder firearm injuries are common, about 13-14,000 occur per year in US EDs. They are most common in young boys, and BB guns* are the most likely culprit. Overall injury rates have gone down, but the rate of eye injury has gone up. The eye injuries seen are most commonly corneal abrasion, but open globe occurred in >10%. Even though I am making a joke about Raphie, this is an important area for patient/parent education, use of eye protection, and a potential area for legislative action.

*Such as an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle

Nonpowder Firearm Injuries to Children Treated in Emergency Departments. Pediatrics. 2019 Dec;144(6). pii: e20192739. doi: 10.1542/peds.2019-2739.

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What are your thoughts?