Nerf guns can cause serious eye damage, doctors warn

(CBS) - Nerf guns can be great fun for kids -- until someone damages an eye, doctors warn.

Nerf guns or "blasters" are hugely popular toys -- used by kids and adults alike -- that shoot a soft foam "dart" or "bullet."

But a new report from emergency department doctors at one British hospital is raising concerns that the toy guns might not be as harmless as once thought.

The report outlines three serious eye injuries from Nerf guns and "calls into consideration the need for protective eyewear with their use," according to Drs. Mukhtar Bizrah and Seema Verma of Moorfields Eye Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust, in London.

One U.S.-based doctor agreed it might be time to re-examine the safety of these products. That's because people can now purchase harder -- and potentially more dangerous -- Nerf "bullets" online from manufacturers not tied to the toy's maker.

"The seemingly safe Nerf bullets or projectiles, especially if made by an off-label manufacturer, should now be put in the category of 'potentially causing eye damage,'" said Dr. Vincent Jerome Giovinazzo. He directs ophthalmology at Staten Island Hospital in New York City.

According to the British team, the three patients -- two adults and one child -- were taken to the hospital with eye pain and blurred vision after being hit in the eye by a Nerf gun projectile shot by a child.

Upon examination, all three patients suffered inflammation of the eye (uveitis) and hyphema -- a pooling of blood in the back portion of the eye.


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