Purpose: To describe ocular injuries attributable to paintball-related trauma and their management and results. Design: Retrospective, interventional case series. Methods: setting: University practice and emergency department. patient population: Thirty-six eyes of 36 patients who sustained ocular injuries secondary to paintballs between July 1, 1998 and January 1, 2005. observation procedure: Age, gender, laterality, setting, eye protection, best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), and initial diagnosis were documented. main outcome measures: Medical and surgical intervention within the first three days postinjury and further treatment after this time period were recorded. BCVA at the initial and final clinical visit were compared. Results: The mean follow-up interval was 11.7 months (one to 40). Mean age was 21 years (three to 64), 31 (86%) were male, 34 (97%) were not wearing eye-protection device when injured, and initial BCVA was worse than 20/200 in 28 eyes (78%). The most common ocular finding was hyphema in 29 eyes (81%). Initially, 20 eyes (56%) were managed medically and nine eyes (25%) required primary repair of a ruptured globe. Ultimately, 29 eyes (81%) had surgical intervention including eight eyes (22%) enucleations. Final visual acuity was 20/40 or better in 13 eyes (36%), whereas 18 eyes (50%) were worse than 20/200. Visual acuity (VA) at initial presentation correlated strongly with final VA (r = 0.64; P < .001). Conclusions: Paintball-related ocular injuries are frequently severe and visually devastating. The compulsive use of protective eyewear may have eliminated 97% of injuries in this series and continues to need emphasis to paintball users.
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