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Whiplash and its effect on the visual system.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, United Kingdom.


Whiplash or indirect injuries to the neck as a consequence of motor vehicle collisions are a common occurrence in which the frequency of ocular complications is largely unknown. Ophthalmic and oculomotor function was investigated in a longitudinal study of 39 cases who had their initial ophthalmological assessment within one week of the whiplash injury. Ten of 39 cases had ocular symptoms and signs which developed shortly after the accident. The principal abnormality in 6 of these was decreased convergence and accommodation, superior oblique muscle paresis in 2, decreased stereoacuity in 1 and bilateral vitreous detachments in 1 patient. All but 2 had complete resolution of their symptoms within 9 months. Four other patients were asymptomatic but had ophthalmic signs which resolved within 3 months. Oculomotor abnormalities following whiplash injuries are generally mild, have a good prognosis, and would appear from this study to be commoner than hitherto expected.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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