Yes, You Really Will Shoot Your Eye Out!

nerf gun.jpg

Some people think Nerf darts are safe because they’re ‘soft.’ But three patients at the heart of a medical report all had days or weeks of pain and blurred vision from toy dart injuries.

The report, published in BMJ Case Reports, reinforces what that the American Academy of Ophthalmology has said many times. Projectile toys are not safe. The three cases, treated at Moorfield’s Eye Hospital in the United Kingdom, underscore the serious nature of eye injuries during playtime.

An article by the BBC about the BMJ report highlights another potential danger. Off-brand replacement darts can be harder than the Nerf brand, causing even more damage.

Toy dart gun and foam darts on white background

Projectiles can cause serious eye injuries. Eye scrapesbleedingcataracts, increased eye pressure and permanent vision loss are all possible.

The Academy stands by its guidance about projectile toys:

  • They are unsafe and you should think about buying something else.
  • If you do buy them for your children, supervise them while they play.
  • Always follow manufacturer warnings and age guidelines.

According to the United States’ Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2018 report, emergency rooms in the U.S. treated more than a quarter million toy-related injuries in 2017. Make sure you choose safe toys for your kids’ health and your own peace of mind.

Other Projectile Toys to Avoid

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that consumers avoid purchasing projectile-firing toys due to safety concerns. If your children are playing with these types of toys, everyone, even adults, should wear eye protection to block flying objects from entering their eyes.


Girl aiming crossbow

Some toy crossbows can shoot arrows nearly 150 feet. Even if arrows are foam and plastic, the impact at close range can cause serious eye damage. Typical injuries from plastic projectiles include corneal abrasions that can scar over when healed, permanently affecting vision.


Dart on board

Steel lawn darts became a staple of outdoor fun but were banned in the late 1980s after a significant number of children sustained injuries and some died. Other types of darts remain on the market and can impact the eye, causing injuries such as bleeding in the eye (known as hyphema), which itself raises the risk of developing glaucoma later on.

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Published by knanosky

Our first piece of advice when we bought our Airstream was from friends and fellow campers. They said to make sure you "keep the shiny side up." Something that struck me kind of funny, but so true :)

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