Log in with your email address username.


Attention doctorportal newsletter subscribers,

After December 2018, we will be moving elements from the doctorportal newsletter to MJA InSight newsletter and rebranding it to Insight+. If you’d like to continue to receive a newsletter covering the latest on research and perspectives in the medical industry, please subscribe to the Insight+ newsletter here.

As of January 2019, we will no longer be sending out the doctorportal email newsletter. The final issue of this newsletter will be distributed on 13 December 2018. Articles from this issue will be available to view online until 31 December 2018.

Eye injuries and tasers

To the Editor: Taser (TASER International) injuries have been topical in the news media. This provides an important reminder of the possible traumatic sequelae associated with the use of electronic control devices.

A taser is a battery-powered unit that uses a nitrogen cartridge to propel two darts on a 7 m copper wire.1 Each dart consists of a 4 mm harpoon-like barbed electrode on a 13 mm × 1 mm shaft (Box), deployed at 18 m/s from a distance of 3–6 m. Increasingly, tasers are being used by police in every state of Australia to subdue violent people.

When the deployed darts attach to a target individual’s skin or clothing, a current of up to 50 000 volts is released for a period of up to 5 s, depending on the skin’s resistance (which varies based on fat content, thickness, cleanliness and body chemistry).2 The mechanical impact of the barbs, combined with the subsequent voltage released, represents a considerable hazard to eyes, genitalia and large blood vessels in the neck.2

Essentially, the eyeball is a liquid-filled globe with a wall thickness < 1 mm, making it particularly susceptible to electrical damage. TASER International states that “serious injury, including…