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Ocular Injuries and Blindness Caused by Crowd Control Measures in Civil Protests

      During protests in the United States in the late spring 2020, police departments across the country used crowd control and dispersal techniques, including tear gas, pepper spray, batons, shields, and rubber bullets. Concern has been raised by protestors, activists, and health care organizations over the use of these devices, especially during peaceful protests. Rubber bullets, in particular, have been associated with ocular trauma and subsequent vision loss.
      • Balouris C.A.
      Rubber and plastic bullet eye injuries in Palestine.
      • Jaouni Z.M.
      • O’Shea J.G.
      Surgical management of ophthalmic trauma due to the Palestinian Intifada.
      • Lartizien R.
      • Schouman T.
      • Raux M.
      • et al.
      Yellow vests protests: facial injuries from rubber bullets.
      • Lavy T.
      • Asleh S.A.
      Ocular rubber bullet injuries.
      In one large review, 2.7% of those struck by rubber bullets subsequently died of their injuries and 15.1% sustained a permanent disability.
      • Haar R.
      • Iacopino V.
      • Ranadive N.
      • et al.
      Death, injury and disability from kinetic impact projectiles in crowd-control settings: a systematic review.
      Reports in the news media from Chile, Venezuela, Hong Kong, and the United States recount the loss of sight in one or both eyes as a result of rubber bullet use against both protestors and journalists.

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      References

        • Balouris C.A.
        Rubber and plastic bullet eye injuries in Palestine.
        Lancet. 1990; 335: 415
        • Jaouni Z.M.
        • O’Shea J.G.
        Surgical management of ophthalmic trauma due to the Palestinian Intifada.
        Eye (Lond). 1997; 11: 392-397
        • Lartizien R.
        • Schouman T.
        • Raux M.
        • et al.
        Yellow vests protests: facial injuries from rubber bullets.
        Lancet. 2019; 394: 469-470
        • Lavy T.
        • Asleh S.A.
        Ocular rubber bullet injuries.
        Eye (Lond). 2003; 17: 821-824
        • Haar R.
        • Iacopino V.
        • Ranadive N.
        • et al.
        Death, injury and disability from kinetic impact projectiles in crowd-control settings: a systematic review.
        BMJ Open. 2017; 7: E018154

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