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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Simultaneous injuries to both eyes in traffic accidents

In traffic accidents, eye injuries occur as isolated or with polytrauma. They may involve just one eye, but simultaneous injuries to both eyes do happen occasionally.

The aim of our paper was to reveal the risk factors, in an effort to reduce the number of such accidents and to prevent bilateral ocular damage.

All patients hospitalized at the Clinic of Eye Diseases, Clinical Center of Serbia, Belgrade, due to traffic accidents with bilateral eye injuries in a period of 9 years from the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2008 were analyzed.

In this 9-year period, a total of 36 patients were hospitalized and treated for bilateral ocular injury (72 eyes). There were 23 males among them, the male-female ratio being 1.8:1. Mean age was 33.9 years. The occupations of injured persons were the following: the most common were workers—15, followed by clerks—seven, while less common were pupils, students, pensioners and housewives—three of each of them, and farmers—two. Front-seat passengers were the most common among the injured—20 (55.6%), then drivers—15 (41.7%), with only one passenger from the back seat on the right side (2.7%). As many as 33 (91.7%) of them failed to fasten their seat belts, while 18 (50.0%) were drunk. Penetrating bulbar injuries or eyeball ruptures were predominant—66.7%, while blunt injuries were found in only two (2.8%) eyes in one single person; but in 22 cases (30.5%) there was adnexal damage, too. Visual acuity at discharge and subsequent controls was as follows: amaurosis in 21 (29.2%), less than 0.3 in nine (5.6%), 0.4 and better in 42 (58.1%), and normal visual acuity of 1.0 in 28 patients (38.3%).

The major risk factors for getting bilateral eye injuries in traffic accidents proved to be: sitting in the front car seats, not fastening the seat belt and alcohol intoxication. Prevention of these risk factors would result in a decrease in such a large number of bilateral eye injuries.

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