Healthcare professionals are warning parents and children about the serious risks associated with Nerf guns, highlighting several case reports involving severe eye injuries.
In a report published in the medical journal BMJ Case Reports on September 18, doctors highlight the Nerf gun eye injury risk, outlining three new incidents where users or bystanders suffered an eye trauma.
A recent cluster of patients treated at Moorfields Eye Hospital accident and emergency department in London are outlined in the case report, after they presented for pain and blurred vision after ocular injury with a Nerf gun. The report was submitted to the BMJ for publishing, to raise awareness about the potential eye trauma and dangers associated with the toy guns.
The authors indicated two adults and one child were treated at the London emergency facility for eye injuries stemming from Nerf guns. In all three case, the individuals were found to have greater than a millimeter of traumatic hyphema, which is the pooling of blood in the anterior chamber of the eye, which represents significant ocular trauma.
The two adult patients were also reportedly diagnosed with uveitis, which is the swelling of the iris, that is commonly treated with antibiotic drops. The symptoms may include redness, pain, light sensitivity, blurred vision, and dark floating spots in the field of vision.
The third Nerf gun injury report included an 11-year-old child who was reportedly struck in the eye by a Nerf gun dart, forming hyphema, corneal oedema, anterior uveitis, localized angle recession and commotion retinae, which amplifies the individual’s sensitivity to light.
According to the researchers, all three of the individuals treated for ocular injuries had been shot by a dart from a Nerf gun at a close distance. The brands of the darts were not disclosed in the report, however doctors warn that any projectile that strikes an individual in the eye may cause trauma, regardless of the brand.
Lead author of the case report, Mukhtar Bizrah, stated significant Nerf gun injuries are not reported in literature as frequently as believed to occur, indicating injuries are often unreported and are not treated properly.
Although Nerf gun products are typically rated for children over the age of eight years, parents and caregivers should require their children to wear protective eye gear when playing with the toys, and to never point the Nerf gun at someone’s head, or at anyone not wearing eye protection, doctors advised.