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More US Kids Getting Eye Injuries From BB, Pellet And Paintball Guns

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The number of eye injuries related to non-powder guns has increased in the United States by nearly 169 percent, a new study finds.

The injuries occurred among children while they were playing with BB, pellet, and paintball guns.

Eye Injuries From Non-Powder Gun Activities

In a 23-year-long study recently published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers examined data on eye injuries that were linked to several sports and recreational activities.

The data were collected from the U.S. National Electronic Injury Surveillance System and covered around 442,800 children who received medical treatment in hospitals across the United States. The eye injuries occurred between 1990 and 2012 among children who were 17 years old and younger.

What Researchers Found?

The researchers found that the number of eye injuries related to non-powder guns among children went up by 168.8 percent during the 23-year period.

Despite that increase, however, researchers also found that the overall eye injury rate among kids still managed to fall slightly.

Dr. Gary Smith, the senior author of the study, noted that the overall decline occurred at the same time with the decline in participation in many youth sports during the study period. Smith is also the director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio.

Most Common Sports Linked To Eye Injuries

The two most common sports that were linked to eye injuries were baseball or softball, and basketball, accounting for about 15.2 percent of eye injuries. Also, the highest rate of eye injury was seen in kids between the ages of 10 and 17 years old, with boys accounting for three-quarters of all injuries.

Injuries related to non-powder gun activities, on the other hand, accounted for almost 11 percent only but they accounted for nearly half of the injuries that required medical attention.

The Need For More Eye Protection

The researchers concluded that eye injuries related to sports and recreational activities are still common, but they are also preventable.

Smith said that the findings suggest the need for more eye protection during some activities and, in some cases, a change in culture within the sport. The change would expect kids to use proper eye protection, which can help prevent injuries and keep them active and in the game.

In addition to eye protection, children and parents also need to be educated on this issue. Smith added that consistent rules requiring the use of eye protection need to be adopted.

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