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Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 2004 Mar;20(2):99-102.

Ophthalmic injuries in children involved in all-terrain vehicle crashes.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee 38163, USA.



To describe the spectrum of ophthalmic injuries in children involved in all-terrain vehicle (ATV) crashes.


We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of a level 1 children's trauma center to identify cases with ICD-9 codes pertaining to crashes involving ATVs and cross-referenced for ophthalmic trauma. From these cases, we documented the nature of the crash, patient's age, ophthalmic injuries received, and length of hospitalization.


Twenty children, 5 to 16 years of age (mean, 11.1 years), involved in ATV crashes were admitted between June 1997 and April 2002. One was riding with an adult and 3 with other children; 16 were operating the vehicles alone at the time of their crashes. None was wearing a helmet, and all had head trauma. Nine patients had ophthalmic injuries, including lacerations of the eyelid (n = 5), orbital fractures (n = 9), and traumatic optic neuropathies (n = 2). The latter two had final visual acuities of count fingers and no light perception. The average length of hospitalization was 6.6 days.


Ophthalmic trauma is a frequent complication of ATV crashes involving children. Injuries may range from minor lacerations to complex orbital fractures; visual loss may be severe. We believe that the age of the vehicles' operators and their failure to wear protective helmets contribute to the severity of injuries.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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