Role of the ophthalmologist in trauma resulting from airbag deployment

W. Baca, T. Starck, C. R. Bauer

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Abstract

Purpose. To describe a range of ocular injuries resulting from airbag deployment and the role of the ophthalmologist in patient management. Method s . Entry criteria into this series included any patient ages 18-65 who presented to the UTHSCA ER after having been involved in a motor vehicle accident with airbag deployment. Patients were prospectively identified from 7/94-96. Each patient received a full eye exam within 24-48 hours of the accident, whether or not ocular complaints were present. Results. A total of-15 patients were identified. 9/15(60%) had apparent ocular injury. These included subconjunctival hemorrhage 5/15(33.3%), mechanical corneal abrasion 3/15(20%), chemical injuries 3/15(20%), severe corneal edema 5/15(33.3%), hyphema 3/15(20%), iridodialysis 1/L5(6.7%), cyclodialysis 1/15(6.7%), vitreous hemorrhage 1/15(6.7%), subretinal hemorrhage 1/15(6.7%), and periorbitai contusion 5/15(33.3%). 5/6(83.3%) of patients without ocular complaints had abnormalities on exam. Conclusions. Airbag deployment may result in devastating ocular injuries: Although minimal or no ocular injury was demonstrated in patients who were conscious without significant ocular complaints, it is imperative the ophthalmologist be consulted, especially when the patient is unable to respond secondary to altered mental status. Ocular injuries may not be apparent to nonspecialists when vision can not be assessed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S58
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Volume38
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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