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Ocular injuries from gel blasters: not just a harmless toy
  1. Rylan Hayes1,2 and
  2. Shuan Dai1
  1. 1 Ophthalmology, Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service, South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2 School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rylan Hayes, rylan.hayes{at}


Gel blasters fire a hydrated gel polymer and are developed to circumvent the restrictions placed on paintball and airsoft guns. Because there are no reported cases of injury caused by gel blasters in the literature, some Australian jurisdictions have categorised them as a toy. Presented here are two cases of potentially blinding blunt ocular trauma which question the misguided notion they are a harmless toy. Two children each with a macrohyphaema were managed at a tertiary ophthalmology centre within 2 weeks of each other after being struck by a gel blaster projectile. Their vision ultimately returned to normal, but both face lifelong risks of ocular complications. These cases highlight the need for vigilance, and the appropriate restriction of powerful weapons, with the inherent need for eye protection when operating any such projectiles reiterated. It is recommended their licensing is made congruous with paintball guns to prevent false reassurance of their safety.

  • accidents, injuries
  • anterior chamber
  • ophthalmology
  • public health
  • paediatrics

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  • Contributors RH was chiefly responsible for concept, literature review and writing of the cases described within the article. SD was responsible for planning, contributed to the discussion section and assisted final reviewing of the article.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.