Ocular trauma from paintball-pellet war games

South Med J. 2002 Feb;95(2):218-22.


Background: We studied ocular injuries and visual outcome after blunt trauma from paintball pellets.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed cases of ocular injury from paintball pellets occurring over 32 months.

Results: Ten cases of ocular injury from paintball pellets were recorded. Most patients (9) were injured at home or at a friend's home; only 1 was injured at a war game facility. Six patients had surgery. Final visual acuity was 20/25 or better in 6 patients, 20/30 to 20/50 in 2 patients, 20/60 to 20/100 in 2 patients, and 20/200 in 1 patient. Traumatic maculopathy and epiretinal membrane formation were determinants of worse final visual acuity.

Conclusions: Paintball pellet ocular injuries occur more frequently at home than at war game facilities. Advanced surgical techniques offer decreased ocular morbidity and improved visual acuity. Decreasing visual morbidity from paintball pellets requires public education, proper product labeling, and packaging of eye protection with all paintball-related products.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Eye Injuries / etiology*
  • Eye Injuries / prevention & control
  • Eye Injuries / surgery
  • Eye Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Paint
  • Play and Playthings*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / etiology*
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / prevention & control
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / surgery