Paintball ocular injuries

Kruger, L. P. ; Acton, J. K. (1999)

CITATION: Kruger, L. P. & Acton, J. K. 1999. Paintball ocular injuries. South African Medical Journal, 89(3):268-268.

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Introduction. Six cases of ocular injury following paintball injuries sustained during war games are described. A CO2-powered rifle shoots a 14 mm plastic-coated paintball at participants. The muzzle velocity of the gun is 250 ft/sec (76 m/sec). Locally manufactured paintballs are harder than the more expensive imported varieties and may account for the severity of our reported injuries. Method. Six patients presented to a retinal specialist with various ocular injuries, predominantly of the posterior pole. Results. All patients were young males. There were no cases of ocular penetration. A variety of retinal pathologies was noted, with three cases requiring surgery; however this did not significantly improve the visual outcome. Conclusions. These cases highlight the severe ocular injuries that may occur from paintball injuries. Recommendations to avoid ocular injury are made.

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