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Serious Eye Injuries From Paintball Games Rising in Younger Patients

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Ronald P. Danis, MD, associate professor of ophthalmology at the Indiana University School of Medicine, says that the researchers also point out a common problem, in that even when people have appropriate eye wear, they may remove it because it gets fogged or the paint interferes with vision.

"These can be very serious injuries with many patients ending up legally blind in at least one eye," Danis tells WebMD in an interview seeking an objective analysis of the study. "When looking for eye protection, the participants and their parents should also consider treating the goggles with an antifogging agent. Using clear acetate strips over the outside lenses that can be removed when paint gets on them is another excellent idea."

Paul Vinger, MD, a member of the sports safety committee of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, tells WebMD that the consumer should be very careful to buy and use only eye protection devices that conform to industry standards.

"Paintball can be very safe if you take precautions," says Vinger. "Somewhere on the box, it should say that the goggles conform to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard 1776. This means that they have passed a rigorous test and minimize the chance a paintball or fragments can come in contact with the eyes."

According to Fineman, none of the patients in their study were wearing goggles that met the current standards.


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