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June 1993

Ocular Injuries and Diseases at a Combat Support Hospital in Support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm

Author Affiliations

From the Ophthalmology Service, Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, Aurora, Colo (Drs Heier and Enzenauer); Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (Dr Wintermeyer); Emergency Department, Fort Dix, NJ (CPT Delaney); and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC, and Uniformed Services, University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Md (Dr LaPiana). CPT Delaney is now at Walter Reed Medical Center, Washington, DC.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1993;111(6):795-798. doi:10.1001/archopht.1993.01090060083028

• A retrospective review of all emergency department visits to a combat support hospital (one of four combining to support 150 000 troops) during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm was conducted, and all medical records of patients with ocular complaints were analyzed. Ocular injury and/or disease accounted for 14% (108/767) of these visits to the emergency department. Of 108 patients with ocular complaints, corneal foreign bodies (18), ocular burns (14), and traumatic iritis (eight) were the most common injuries treated, while blepharitis and conjunctivitis (16) were the most common diseases. Nineteen (18%) of the 108 patients with ocular complaints were treated during support of the ground war in Iraq (13 were Iraqi prisoners). Ophthalmic injuries accounted for 13% (19/149) of all ground war casualties; however, eight individuals had associated injuries deemed more significant than those of ocular concern. This incidence continues the trend of earlier wars, which has demonstrated a steady increase in ocular injuries. Most US Army troops were issued protective goggles, but only three of 92 American patients wore them at the time of their injury and/or disease.

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