Eye injury rate from air guns up 500 percent among kids: study

San Francisco – Child eye injury rates involving non-powder guns such as paintball, airsoft, BB and pellet guns increased by more than 500 percent from 2010 to 2012, according to a recent study from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Researchers analyzed emergency department admissions data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System related to non-powder guns. The data showed a 511 percent increase in the injury rate – with 3,161 children treated for eye injuries related to the products in 2012.

More than 98 percent of the children injured were not wearing eye protection, researchers said. Airsoft guns accounted for the drastic increase in pediatric eye injuries, while injury rates from paintball guns remained much lower.

The findings emphasize the need to promote eye protection and develop federal laws regulating non-powder guns, researchers said.

“These results demonstrate that air guns can cause severe, yet preventable, eye injury among the pediatric population,” Dr. Douglas Fredrick, Stanford clinical professor of ophthalmology, said in a press release.

The study was published in the April edition of the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.