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Industry News

AAO urges law enforcement to stop using rubber bullets to control protesters

Posted on June 8, 2020

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) called on local law enforcement to cease using rubber bullets to control or disperse crowds of protesters, according to a news release by the organization.

Rubber bullets have a history of causing serious eye injuries and have already blinded at least 2 Americans during current protests, the AAO said.

“Ophthalmologists, like many Americans, have mobilized to protect their communities from COVID-19 in recent weeks,” said Anne L. Coleman, MD, PhD, president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in the statement.  “We are saddened that these same communities now need our professional skill to treat blinding eye injuries from senseless violence.”

If an eye is injured from rubber bullet or projectiles, the AAO recommends not touching or rubbing an eye, remaining in an upright position, placing a hard shield around the eye, and seeking emergency care immediately.

If a person is exposed to tear gas, they should remove themselves from the contaminated area, flush the eye, remove clothing near eye, seek fresh air and higher ground, blink frequently, and seek ophthalmology care, the AAO said. An exposed individual should remove contact lenses and should not rub eyes.

Although tear gas doesn’t usually cause permanent eye damage, the AAO advises that it has been known to cause serious issues, such as hyphema, uveitis, necrotizing keratitis, coagulative necrosis, symblepharon, secondary glaucoma, cataracts and traumatic optic neuropathy and loss of sight.

Read more here.

 

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