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Paintball-related ocular trauma: Paintball or Painball?

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study is to describe the type and severity of paintball-related ocular trauma and to determine the necessary precautions to minimize the risk of ocular injury regardless of whether adequate eye protection was used.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A retrospective chart review identified patients treated for paintball-related ocular trauma at the Ataturk University Medical Hospital from June 2010 through March 2013. A descriptive analysis of data was performed.

RESULTS: Ten patients with paintball-related ocular trauma were identified. At the time of their first examination, 7 of these patients had visual acuity (VA) of 20/200 or worse. One patient had a final VA of no light perception and 4 patients had a final VA of 20/200 or worse. Hyphema was noted in 7 patients, traumatic cataract in 2, iridodialysis in 2, retinal detachment in 3, and secondary glaucoma in 1. Six patients required surgery. Although all victims have used eye protection during the game, all patients were injured after they thought the game was over and had taken off their helmets or eye-protective devices.

CONCLUSIONS: Paintball-related accidents result in serious ocular trauma and most of the patients require surgery. These injuries result in severe loss of VA in some patients. Uninterrupted use of proper eye protection whenever a player is in the game field, even after they believe the game has ended, may reduce the incidence of severe ocular trauma in paintball players.

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