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Eye (Lond). 1990;4 ( Pt 6):855-60.

Ocular trauma caused by air-gun pellets: a ten year survey.

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Department of Opthalamology, Southern General Hospital, Glasgow.


Forty-one consecutive cases of ocular injury related to air gun pellets occurring over a ten year period have been reviewed retrospectively. The male to female ratio was 7:1 and the average age was fifteen years. Hyphaema was the most common injury (78%) while the main cause of poor final visual outcome was retinal detachment. Thirty-eight percent of the involved eyes had a final corrected visual acuity of less than 6/60 including four eyes (10%) which were enucleated following severe perforating injuries. Neither sympathetic ophthalmitis nor lead poisoning was detected in this study. The fact that these injuries are largely of an accidental nature, predominantly involve young people and appear to be occurring more frequently suggests that present legislation does not offer adequate protection. The authors suggest that the best method of prevention is through a public education campaign aimed at children and their parents.

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