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Ophthalmologica. 2002 Jan-Feb;216(1):55-9.

Ocular firework injuries at New Year's eve.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, University of Vienna Medical School, Vienna, Austria.



To prospectively study mechanisms and injury characteristics of ocular firework burns.


A prospective analysis of all patients with firework injuries attending the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Vienna, between 1994 and 2001. We looked for classes of fireworks and mechanisms of injuries. The number of diagnoses was established and their severity classified.


During this period (8 years) we identified 116 eyes of 102 patients. 67/102 (66%) of all injuries were caused by class II and III fireworks. Patients ranged between 4 and 83 years. Ocular injuries occurred more frequently in males (69, 68%) and affected the right eye in 53 patients (52.5%). Ocular firework injuries to minors (under the age of 18 years) occurred in 48 (49%). The most common types of injury were skin and corneal erosions and abrasions (32/116, 28%). 11/116 eyes (10%) had severe injuries. 8 of 11 severe injuries (72%) occurred in minors (<18 years). 2 patients (1.7%) developed permanent blindness. In 32/116 patients (28%), the ocular trauma resulted in visual impairment, mainly due to corneal scars or retinal pathologies. In all patients, the severity index was 1.4 +/- 0.8. In minors the severity index was 1.6 +/- 1.0, in adults 1.2 +/- 0.5 (p = 0.013).


Injuries in minors were significantly more severe than those in adults. Possible preventive measures include legislation, education of minors and eye protection.

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