Introduction: Airsoft guns have become more common in France since the Decree of March 24, 1999, allowing people over 18 years of age to use weapons with an energy level below 2J. The present study aimed to assess the relationship between the context of Airsoft gun pellet related ocular injuries and their clinical consequences, in order to determine an effective prevention strategy.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of ocular injuries due to Airsoft gun pellets was conducted in two hospitals in northern France between September 2009 and August 2010.
Results: Six patients with a mean age of 12.6 ± 3.2 years were included. The most frequent injuries were corneal abrasion, hyphema and iris trauma. Functional sequelae were observed in 50% of cases and surgical intervention was necessary in one third of cases. A direct shot had occurred in all cases. In 83% of cases, the accident took place while playing in or around the house. In one out of every two cases, the gun had been won at a booth in a fair or had been purchased in a big-box store and in no cases did the patients own safety glasses.
Conclusion: The strong appeal of Airsoft guns to minors leads us to propose several practical measures to help protect them, with the main one being to forbid selling these guns outside of specialized stores.
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