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Ophthalmology. 1988 Dec;95(12):1603-7.

Epidemiology of severe eye injuries in childhood.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Izaak Walton Killam Hospital for Children, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada.


The authors conducted a cross-sectional study of all ocular injury cases admitted to a children's hospital between January 1978 and December 1984. Of 222 injuries reviewed, 77 (35%) resulted in some visual deficit. Males were significantly overrepresented in all age groups with an average male:female ratio of 3.5:1. The distribution of injuries was: contusions, 114 (51%); penetrating lacerations, 62 (28%); foreign bodies and burns, 11 (5%); and nonpenetrating lacerations, 35 (16%). Sixteen (7%) ocular injuries were associated with BB gun pellets and six of these children (42%) were blinded in the injured eye as a result. Two other cases of blindness resulted from ocular penetration by homemade "Jinsang Stars," underscoring the adverse influence of media on children's games. Adult supervision could have potentially prevented most cases of permanent visual deficit. The authors suggest that legislation restricting the use of BB guns be passed and that a program of adult and child eye safety education including "eye watch" warnings on potentially hazardous toys be developed.

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