A new American study found that eye injuries from non-powder guns have spiked in the past few decades. Interestingly, this comes at a time when sports-related eye injuries have fallen overall.
Researchers at the Nationwide Children's Hospital's Center for Injury Research and Policy studied sports-related eye injury trends between 1990 and 2012. All of this information came from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) database. After reviewing the stats, researchers found that eye injuries caused by some form of non-powder gun rose by a whopping 170 percent.
In total, 442,000 kids were hospitalized for some type of recreational-related eye injury. Three-quarters of these patients where boys, most of whom were aged between ten and 17.
27 percent of these children had some case of scratched eye, which makes it the most common form of injury. At 10 percent, the next most common eye injury was related to pink eye. After pink eye, the third most common eye injury was a foreign object in the eye (9 percent).
Although study authors note that eye injuries have been trending downward, non-powder gun-related injuries have risen dramatically. Only 11 percent of all eye injuries in this survey weren't due to non-powder guns.About 79 percent of the children who were hospitalized for their injuries were struck with either a pellet or BB gun.Another 19 percent of injuries were the result of a paintball gun.
Besides non-powder guns,the most popular mainstream sports where kids get eye injuries are basketball and baseball. Basketball players accounted for 16 percent of all eye injury cases. Baseball players were only one percent behind basketball players in eye injury incidence.
Study authors recommend children participating in sports like baseball and basketball wear polycarbonate lenses as preventative measures. Baseball players could also wear facemasks or guards for added protection.
Safety experts also suggested all children using non-powder guns must be supervised by adults at all times. They also recommend these kids wear appropriate protective glasses while using any non-powder gun.
When teaching children how to shoot non-powder guns, experts recommend that teachers use paper or gel targets with strong backstops. These targets help capture the gun's pellets so there's no chance they will rebound into a child's eye.
Founded in 1892, the Nationwide Children's Hospital is a major American pediatric hospital in Columbus, Ohio. In addition to treating thousands of patients every year, the Nationwide Children's Hospital teaches medical students from Ohio State University.Consumer Product Safety Commission owns and operates the NEISS's website domain. Anyone can check out the information from this survey online in English and Spanish.For more information on this study, check out the latest edition of the journal Pediatrics.