Airsoft Gun-Related Ocular Injuries: Novel Findings, Ballistics Investigation, and Histopathologic Study

Assaf Kratz, Jaime Levy, Dorina Cheles, Zach Ashkenazy, Erez Tsumi, Tova Lifshitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Purpose: To describe the ocular injuries related to airsoft gun bullets, investigate the ballistics of airsoft bullets, record real-time impact of the bullets on an eye, and investigate the histopathologic changes within the cornea after being hit by an airsoft gun bullet. Design: Retrospective, interventional case series and experimental animal study. Methods: All consecutive cases of patients with airsoft gun-related ocular injuries during 2006 to 2008 were included in this study. Porcine eyes were used for high-speed video photographs of bullet impacts. Rabbit eyes were used for the histopathologic investigation. All patients were treated in the Department of Ophthalmology at Soroka University Medical Center, Beer-Sheva, Israel. Laboratory investigations were performed at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel. The main outcome measures were ocular injuries of the patients, ballistics of the airsoft bullets, nature of corneal deformation upon impact, and corneal histopathologic changes after the hit. Results: Fifty-nine patients with a mean age of 9.8 ± 3.8 years (range, 2.8 to 26 years) were examined; 49 were male (83.1%). The ocular injuries included hyphema, corneal edema, corneal erosion, traumatic mydriasis, and posterior segment involvement. A novel, "donut" form of corneal erosion was seen and also demonstrated by the histopathologic investigation. Substantial anterior segment deformation was recorded in real-time using the high-speed video camera. Conclusions: Airsoft gun injuries affect mainly young men and can be visually threatening. Typical ocular injuries along with a unique form of corneal erosion can be seen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-44.e2
JournalAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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