gms | German Medical Science

102. Jahrestagung der DOG

Deutsche Ophthalmologische Gesellschaft e. V.

23. bis 26.09.2004, Berlin

Ocular and orbital trauma caused by air-gun pellets

Meeting Abstract

Search Medline for

  • corresponding author A. Nestler - Klinik und Poliklinik für Augenheilkunde, Universität Leipzig, Leipzig
  • P. Meier - Klinik und Poliklinik für Augenheilkunde, Universität Leipzig, Leipzig
  • P. Wiedemann - Klinik und Poliklinik für Augenheilkunde, Universität Leipzig, Leipzig

Evidenzbasierte Medizin - Anspruch und Wirklichkeit. 102. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Ophthalmologischen Gesellschaft. Berlin, 23.-26.09.2004. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2004. Doc04dogP 199

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: September 22, 2004

© 2004 Nestler et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.




Air-gun pellets may cause severe ocular and orbital trauma.


Six consecutive cases of ocular and orbital injury related to air gun pellets have been reviewed retrospectively with respect to type of injury, surgical intervention and postinjury visual acuity.


Between 1995 and 2003 six patients suffering from air-gun injury with a projectile intraorbital metallic foreign body were seen in our institution. All patients were male, between the ages of 11 and 16. In all cases the injury had been caused by a friend of the victim. In two of the six cases the patient gave misleading information regarding the course of the act. Five patients suffered from ocular injury, in three of these cases there was a penetrating eye injury, in two cases a severe contusion. In one case the air-gun pellet had reached the posterior apex of the orbit without injuring the globe. In one of the patients the pellet was located subconjunctivaly and was removed. In the other five cases the foreign body was located in a retrobulbar position and could not be removed. In all three patients suffering from penetrating eye injury the injured eye went blind but could be preserved by several surgical intervention. In the patients suffering from contusion visual acuity was limited by traumatic maculopathy.


Air-gun pellets may cause severe ocular trauma by perforation and contusion that often require surgical intervention. Air-gun pellets located in a retrobulbar position may be left in place. The danger of air-guns is often underestimated. The access of children and adolescents to these weapons should be restricted.