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April 1990

Causes of Pediatric Eye Injuries: A Population-Based Study

Arch Ophthalmol. 1990;108(4):603-606. doi:10.1001/archopht.1990.01070060151066

• Eye injuries are an important cause of ocular morbidity in children. We conducted a population-based study of eye injuries requiring hospital admission for children younger than 16 years in the state of Maryland during the 1982 calendar year. The population-based estimate of the incidence of ocular trauma in Maryland children was 15.2 per 100000 per year (95% confidence interval, 12.8 to 17.7). Male patients outnumbered female patients as victims of eye injuries by a ratio of approximately 4:1; eye injuries in 11- to 15-year-old children occurred at more than twice the rate than for younger children. The most common cause of pediatric ocular trauma was accidental blows and falls (37%). Sports and recreational activities accounted for 27% of all eye injuries, 39% of all nonpenetrating injuries, and 40% of all injuries in 11- to 15-year-old children. A comparison of the causes of eye injuries at statewide specialty trauma centers and community-based hospitals indicated that sports-related injuries were treated at general hospitals more than 10 times more frequently than at the trauma centers. Other important causes of eye injuries were burns (9%), car crashes (11%), and nonpowder firearm accidents (4%). We conclude that the majority of pediatric eye injuries are preventable, and that the implementation of well-established safety precautions would greatly reduce this source of visual disability in our nation's children.