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J Neurotrauma. 2016 Jul 1;33(13):1194-201. doi: 10.1089/neu.2015.4022. Epub 2015 Nov 13.

Low-Level Primary Blast Causes Acute Ocular Trauma in Rabbits.

Author information

1 Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Texas at San Antonio , San Antonio, Texas.
2 U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research , JBSA Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas.
3 WESMD Professional Associates , San Antonio, Texas.
4 Rosenberg School of Optometry, University of the Incarnate Word , San Antonio, Texas.
5 Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas at San Antonio , San Antonio, Texas.
6 Department of Ophthalmology, University of North Carolina , Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
7 Department of Ophthalmology, University of Texas Health Science Center , San Antonio, Texas.


The objective of this study was to determine whether clinically significant ocular trauma can be induced by a survivable isolated primary blast using a live animal model. Both eyes of 18 Dutch Belted rabbits were exposed to various survivable low-level blast overpressures in a large-scale shock tube simulating a primary blast similar to an improvised explosive device. Eyes of the blast-exposed rabbits (as well as five control rabbits) were thoroughly examined before and after blast to detect changes. Clinically significant changes in corneal thickness arose immediately after blast and were sustained through 48 h, suggesting possible disruption of endothelial function. Retinal thickness (RT) increased with increasing specific impulse immediately after exposure. Intraocular pressure (IOP) was inversely correlated with the specific impulse of the blast wave. These findings clearly indicate that survivable primary blast causes ocular injuries with likely visual functional sequelae of clinical and military relevance.


animal model; head trauma; models of injury; ocular blast trauma; primary blast trauma

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