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Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2010 Jun;4(2):154-60.

Blast eye injuries: a review for first responders.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Tufts University School of Medicine, USA.


As the rate of terrorism increases, it is important for health care providers to become familiar with the management of injuries inflicted by blasts and explosions. This article reviews the ocular injuries associated with explosive blasts, providing basic concepts with which to approach the blast-injured patient with eye trauma. We conducted a literature review of relevant articles indexed in PubMed between 1948 and 2007. Two hundred forty-four articles were reviewed. We concluded that ocular injury is a frequent cause of morbidity in blast victims, occurring in up to 28% of blast survivors. Secondary blast injuries, resulting from flying fragments and debris, cause the majority of eye injuries among blast victims. The most common blast eye injuries include corneal abrasions and foreign bodies, eyelid lacerations, open globe injuries, and intraocular foreign bodies. Injuries to the periorbital area can be a source of significant morbidity, and ocular blast injuries have the potential to result in severe vision loss.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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