The 2019–2020 Chilean protests are characterised by widespread eye injuries, including many globe ruptures ("exploded eyes"), among protesters as result of Chilean riot police's use of "rubber" bullets and tear gas grenades. Data from the National Institute of Human Rights (INDH) shows that the use of "rubber" bullets and pellets by security forces has left at least 1863 injured, including 268 with eye problems. According to the Chilean Ophthalmology Society, this is the highest number of injuries of this type registered during protests or in conflict zones in the world. In late November, security forces announced the suspension of the use of "rubber" pellets as a crowd control method in the protests. The INDH updated figures at the end of January 2020 reporting that 427 persons had received eye injuries at the hands of the police. Almost 90% of the injured are men. As of early January 2020 the age of injured goes from 14 to 59 years, and averages 28 years. UTO, the Ocular Trauma Unit (Spanish: Unidad de Trauma Ocular) of Hospital del Salvador has treated the majority of eye injuries. By November 18 it was estimated that nearly 30% of the cases of eye injury that had occurred in the context of the protests involved "exploded eyes", a trauma for which there is no remedy, and results in complete blindness of the affected eye. Monday October 21 is reported by ophthalmologist Mauricio López as one of the days with most eye injuries, that day Hospital Salvador received twenty cases of which ten alone came in the span of a single hour. The high command of the Chilean police ordered an end to the use of supersock cartridges on October 31. Despite this and other initiatives declared by the high command the number of severe eye injuries in November was about the double as in October. As result of the COVID-19 pandemic in Chile many of the injured have not been able to continue their treatments. In the cases where injured have gone to hospital for treatment and supervision some have had to share rooms with COVID-19 patients. Bandaged eyes had become so common that they become a symbol for protesters. Among protestors the injured are considered "martyrs" and "proof of police brutality". The eyes bandages featuring in the "A Rapist in Your Path" performances are references to the victims that have suffered eye injuries 2019–2020 Chilean protests. Singer-songwriter Nano Stern released the song Regalé mis ojos (lit. "I gave away my eyes") on November 19 paying homage to Gustavo Gatica, who lost both eyes in the protests. Álex Anwandter covered one of his eyes in homage to the injured during the Olmué Festival in January 2020. Anwandter then added that he hoped that "this time, in difference to the [Pinochet] dictatorship, there will be accountability. And the politically responsible, such as Piñera, will pay." During Mon Laferte's show in the Viña del Mar International Song Festival members of her crew covered their eye in reference to the eye injuries. Fabiola Campillai and Gustavo Gatica, two well-known victims, were part of campaign advertising for the "Approve" option in the 2020 Chilean national plebiscite held on October 25.
thumb|right|200px|Mario Rozas, Director General of Carabineros de Chile, Chile's main police force and the force in charge of riot control. Analysis of the composition of the "rubber" pellets used by Chilean police shows that 80% of the pellets is made up of hard substances such as silica and barium sulfate while rubber makes up 20%. The measured hardness of the "rubber" pellets is 96.5 shore A. The hardness of the pellets explain why "exploded eyes" are so common. Police sources cited by Ciper indicate the shotgun munitions being of the brand "supersock", containing lead and reaching velocities of 82 m/s.
Between October 18 and late December Chilean riot plice shot 152 thousand "rubber" pellet cartridges of which 104 thousands were fired in the first two weeks of protests. As each cartridge has 12 pellets it means that 1.25 million pellets were fired in the first two weeks.
A survey of 19 people who suffered eye injury shows that 9 of them recall Chilean police aiming directly at their face. The fact that fewer cartridges were fired in November relative to October but that the number of eye injuries doubled from one month to another imply police may have deliberately aimed to injure protesters. An estimate by astrophysicist Nestor Espinoza shows that if the "rubber" pellets were fired truly randomly against people the number non-eye injuries would be in the order of 750,000.
It has been suggested that contributing factors to excessive police violence are the label of "non-lethal weapon" which would have misslead police regarding the harm potential of weaponry, and a lack of respect among the polices in the field for the authority of Mario Rozas the Director General of Carabineros.
A police officer identified in the press as "G-3" is accused to have used his "rubber"-pellet shotgun in an abusive manner against protesters in different times and places in late 2019. "G-3" is investigated for the complete blinding of Gustavo Gatica on November 8. According to Amnesty International it is "unacceptable that the high command of the police tolerated that high ranking officials such as "G-3" made repetitive improper use of their weapons. By not taking measures to impede for this Subprefect ["G-3"] and his subordinates to continue operating outside established protocols and international norms, the high command of the police contributed to one of the most regrettable episodes of recent Chilean history." After an internal police investigation on June "G-3" was fired, for manipulating evidence recorded in his corporal GoPro.
Eye injuries were one of the topics addressed during the impeachment of Minister of the Interior and Public Security Andrés Chadwick in November 2019. On November 20 Ministry of Health Jaime Mañalich declared to the Chamber of Deputies that there was twelve persons with the loss of one eye and about thirty with serious injuries. The President of Colegio Médico Izkia Siches made also declaration to the congress regarding eye injuries, expressing her belief that police has not followed the protocols on the use of "rubber" bullets. On December 11, 2019 the impeachment motion was passed in the Senate effectively barring Chadwick to hold public office for five years. An attempt to launch a similar impeachment process to destitute President Sebastián Piñera was rejected on December 12 as unconstitutional in the Chamber of Deputies.
As of January 31, 2020, INDH counted 29 people who had suffered the complete loss of vision in one or both eyes. Some of these victims are: