Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Children Targets for Paintball Injuries

'War Games' May Put Children's Eyesight at Risk

WebMD Health News

Jan. 6, 2004 -- Paintball-related eye injuries may be putting children's eyesight at risk. A new study shows that eye injuries caused by the popular combat-simulating game have more than doubled from 1998 to 2000, despite improvements in eye protection devices.

The study shows more than 1,200 paintball eye injuries were treated in emergency rooms across the U.S. in 2000, up from only 545 reported injuries in 1998. Researchers say children account for more than 40% of those injuries.

Many of those who sustained paintball eye injuries suffered from permanent vision impairment, with 43% having vision of only 20/200 or worse upon follow up.

The results appear in the January issue of Pediatrics.

The Perils of Paintball

Researcher shows paintball is an increasingly popular form of war game, and an estimated 8 million people in the U.S. suited up in 1999 at more than 2,500 sites.

Paintballs are small gelatin capsules filled with nontoxic, water-soluble paint. But researchers say it's the small size (about 14 millimeters in diameter) and force with which the paintballs are fired that makes them dangerous. The balls are fired at about 300 feet per second, and they are small enough to strike or penetrate the eyeball directly and cause serious damage.

Severe paintball eye injuries were first documented in 1985 and goggles were soon recommended as protection. In recent years, more sophisticated facemasks with integrated protective lenses have become the new standard at organized paintball facilities.

But researchers say paintball eye injuries at noncommercial paintball centers are becoming increasingly common, especially among children.

"What I think is happening is that adults who (play paintball) go out with their businesses to centers where they require you to wear eye protection," says researcher David Listman, MD, of the department of pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in Bronx, N.Y., in a news release. "Children, though, play in the backyard, in the woods and ... they're not often going to take appropriate protective measures."

Listman says parents or other caregivers should supervise children playing with paintballs and require them to wear modern eye protection to reduce the risk of potentially blinding injuries.

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
 
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
 
mother and daughter talking
Tool
child brushing his teeth
Slideshow
 
Sipping hot tea
Slideshow
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Video
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Chill Out and Charge Up Challenge – How to help your tribe de-stress and energize.
Spark Change Challenge - Ready for a healthy change? Get some major motivation.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
Article
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
 
tissue box
Quiz
Child with adhd
Slideshow