In the past week, Americans engaged in peaceful protests have been blinded by the use of rubber bullets fired at the face.
While classified as non-lethal, they are not non-blinding. These life-altering eye injuries are a common result of urban warfare, rioting and crowd dispersion. We have seen it around the world, and we now see it in the United States.
Following numerous serious injuries in the past two weeks, the American Academy of Ophthalmology calls on domestic law enforcement officials to immediately end the use of rubber bullets to control or disperse crowds of protesters. The Academy asks physicians, public health officials and the public to condemn this practice.
Americans have the right to speak and congregate publicly and should be able to exercise that right without the fear of blindness. You shouldn’t have to choose between your vision and your voice.
The following organizations have endorsed the Academy’s statement:
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
- American Academy of Family Physicians
- American College of Surgeons
- American Geriatrics Society
- American Society of Nephrology
- Council of Medical Specialty Societies
- Sociedad Chilena de Oftalmología (Chilean Society of Ophthalmology)
- Society of Interventional Radiology