Eye injuries associated with paintball guns

Int Ophthalmol. 1998;22(3):169-73. doi: 10.1023/a:1006216125152.


Aims: This study identifies the various types of ocular injuries sustained after blunt trauma with a paintball fired from a paintball gun.

Methods: We report two patients who sustained injury to an eye after being shot with a paintball and review similar cases presented in the world literature. The type of injury sustained and the final visual acuity obtained after a paintball hit to the eye are examined.

Results: The two boys presented were hit in the eye with a paintball resulting in lens subluxation, hyphema formation, and angle recession. Cataract extraction was required in both cases. One boy also had an optic neuropathy and a choroidal rupture. A review of the literature reveals a variety of injuries occur after a paintball hit to the eye. In some of the cases, the damage to the eye has led to loss of vision and at times loss of the eye.

Conclusions: Paintball guns can cause devastating ocular injuries. Wearing protective eye and face gear during this game is essential. We recommend that an anti-fog face mask with a one-piece polycarbonate eye shield be worn by those participating in paintball games.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cataract / etiology
  • Cataract Extraction
  • Choroid / injuries*
  • Eye Injuries / etiology*
  • Eye Injuries / pathology
  • Eye Injuries / surgery
  • Eye Protective Devices
  • Firearms
  • Humans
  • Hyphema / etiology
  • Lens Subluxation / etiology
  • Lens Subluxation / pathology
  • Lens Subluxation / surgery
  • Lens, Crystalline / injuries*
  • Male
  • Play and Playthings
  • Rupture
  • Wounds, Gunshot / complications*
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / etiology*
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / pathology
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / surgery