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April 1990

Causes of Pediatric Eye Injuries: A Population-Based Study

Author Affiliations

From the Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology, The Wilmer Institute (Dr Strahlman), and the Injury Prevention Center, the School of Hygiene and Public Health (Mr Daub and Ms Baker), The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md, and the Department of Ophthalmology, the University of Maryland Hospital, Baltimore (Dr Elman).

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.

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