Ocular BB injuries

P. Sternberg, E. de Juan, W. R. Green, L. W. Hirst, Alfred Sommer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Data from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission indicate that air-powered guns were responsible for 22,800 injuries treated in emergency rooms during 1981, of which 1255 were eye injuries. From 1970 to 1981, 32 patients have undergone surgical intervention at the Wilmer Eye Institute for airgun-related eye injuries. Of the 22 patients with penetrating injuries from the pellets, 19 eyes were enucleated; final vision in the 3 remaining eyes was worse than 5/200. Of 7 patients with nonpenetrating injuries, 6 had final vision of 20/40 or better. All 3 patients with penetrating injuries from shattered spectacle lenses had final vision of 20/40 or better. Histopathologic examination of the enucleated specimens demonstrated severe disruption of intraocular contents, particularly posteriorly. Despite the potential ocular dangers of airguns, only 11 states have enacted legislation that regulates their sale or use. BB injuries represent a devastating form of ocular trauma which can be prevented by adoption and enforcement of appropriate legislation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1269-1277
Number of pages9
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1984


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

Cite this

Sternberg, P., de Juan, E., Green, W. R., Hirst, L. W., & Sommer, A. (1984). Ocular BB injuries. Ophthalmology, 91(10), 1269-1277.