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Ocular Injuries Caused by Airgun Pellets: An Analysis of 105 Cases

Br Med J 1973; 1 doi: (Published 10 February 1973) Cite this as: Br Med J 1973;1:333
  1. D. I. Bowen,
  2. Denise M. Magauran


    One hundred and five cases of airgun pellet injuries of the eye have been analysed. The average age was 14 and the male to female ratio 7·5:1. Forty-five patients had final visual acuities of 6/18 or less in the injured eye and 19 of these had the eye removed. The two main causes for poor vision were retinal damage and cataract. One patient became completely blind after sympathetic ophthalmitis arising 11 years after the injury. The pellet lodged in the orbit in 14 cases and three of these, together with one who had an intraethmoidal pellet, were investigated for abnormal lead levels in blood and urine. The results were normal.

    The circumstances of the injury were obtained in 12 cases and most involved careless handling of a gun. Instruction of children and parents in schools and on television, rather than stricter legislation, is suggested as a means of prevention.

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