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Am J Emerg Med. 1987 Sep;5(5):386-9.

Commercial tanning facilities: a new source of eye injury.


A retrospective review of patients visits to two urban emergency departments was undertaken to ascertain the impact of commercial tanning facilities (CTFs) on the incidence of corneal burns. Ocular injury and/or infection represented 1.9% of the total patient census, with corneal burns being 7.6% of the eye pathology. Prior to the opening of a number of CTFs, corneal burns had three causes in the two emergency departments reported here: ultraviolet (UV) keratitis from electric arc welders, (32.5%) chemical or physical agents (28%), and UV keratitis from home sunlamps or reflected sunlight while sunbathing or boating (10.5%). Within a single year, UV keratitis from CTFs became the second most common source of corneal burns, injuring 29% of all patients. While most corneal burns resolved with symptomatic treatment, an additional two patients received retinal burns from the CTFs. Both patients were left with permanent visual deficits. Treatment and aspects of UV ocular injury are discussed.

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