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June 1991

Severe Ocular Trauma From a Driver's-Side Air Bag

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles, Calif

Arch Ophthalmol. 1991;109(6):774. doi:10.1001/archopht.1991.01080060030011

Motor vehicle accidents are a common cause of ocular trauma in the United States. Most ocular injuries occur in patients not wearing a lap-shoulder seat belt.1,2 The air bag was recently introduced as a method to reduce the consequences of frontal and front angle collisions, which account for more than 50% of motor vehicle accidents involving serious injuries and fatalities.3 Air bags have been estimated to reduce the incidence of brain injury in motor vehicle accidents by as much as 25%.3 Inflation of an air bag may also reduce the frequency and severity of ocular trauma. We describe herein a patient who sustained significant ocular trauma from an inflated air bag during a motor vehicle accident.

Report of a Case.  —A 26-year-old man driving 35 miles per hour and restrained by a three-point lap-shoulder belt crashed head-on into a tree. The driver's-side air bag inflated during the

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