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S.M. Duma, E.A. Kennedy, T.P. Ng; Evaluating Eye Injury Risk of Airsoft Pellet Guns by Parametric Risk Functions . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2006;47(13):4680.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The purpose of this study is to determine the potential for eye injury from Airsoft pellet guns based on experimental test results and parametric eye injury risk functions.
Two Airsoft pellet guns were selected for testing, one spring–powered and one compressed gas–powered. Both fired 0.12 g and 0.20 g pellets of 6 mm diameter. A total of 13 human and 13 porcine eyes were subjected to projectile testing directly to the center of the cornea from a distance of 175 mm. High–speed video was used to record the impact event and determine projectile velocity. Parametric injury risk functions were then utilized to calculate injury risk for corneal abrasion, hyphema, lens dislocation, retinal damage and globe rupture.
The spring–powered Airsoft gun fired with the most energy, approximately 0.75 ± 0.04 J (26,400 ± 1,540 J/m2). The compressed gas–powered gun fired with 0.54 ± 0.05 J (19,100 ± 1,860 J/m2) of energy. In the experimental testing, globe rupture was not observed in any of the test specimens. Using normalized energy and parametric risk functions for human eye injury, the risk of corneal abrasion, lens dislocation, hyphema, retinal damage, and globe rupture is 100%, 94.4%, 94.5%, 0.1%, and 27.0%, for the spring–powered gun, and 100.0%, 24.3%, 78.6%, 0.0%, and 12.7% for the compressed–gas powered gun, respectively.
Results from this study indicate a high risk for ocular injury from Airsoft guns, which is consistent with case studies reported in the literature. Most clinical injury data reported in the literature from Airsoft guns consist of corneal abrasion or edema, hyphema, and retinal damage; globe rupture has not been clinically reported. This is consistent with the calculated injury risk based on projectile characteristics, where the risk of corneal abrasion and hyphema was particularly high for both guns. Of particular note, the injury risk for retinal damage seems unrealistically low and suggests a relative paucity of experimental data on retinal damage from which to estimate injury risk. In summary, the potential for ocular injury from Airsoft guns is great and protective equipment such as protective eyewear should be considered mandatory during operation.
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