Objective: To see if a public awareness campaign might be justified around Halloween with regard to the dangers of egg throwing.
Method: A prospective study was carried out of all patients who attended the St Paul's Eye Unit's Primary Care Department with ocular injuries resulting from a thrown egg over a 14-month period from November 2004. All injuries were classified as minor, intermediate or major and patients were followed up until discharge.
Results: 13 ocular injuries that were attributed to assault with a raw egg were reported. In all the 13 cases, the eggs had been thrown by strangers. 12 of the patients were men and the average age of the victims was 27.9 years. 9 patients were injured in the left eye and there were no bilateral injuries. On presentation, only 1 patient had a visual acuity of 6/6, 7 presented at 6/9, with the remainder having 6/18 or worse. All the patients had closed globe injuries. 8 injuries were classified as major injuries. 4 patients had permanent sequelae, with one suffering permanent, severe visual loss.
Conclusions: Although most of our patients showed improvement in visual acuity, there were severe injuries, with the potential for severe ocular morbidity. We conclude that there is sufficient injury caused by this prank to warrant a public health message. At the least this practice should not be promoted by the press.