Trauma is a significant cause of visual loss in children in Jamaica. Eye injuries can be very costly to treat, and often leave children with a lifelong disability, or the possibility of developing complications later on in life. Prevention of eye injuries can go a long way to reducing the incidence of visual impairment, without being very expensive. The most common causes of childhood eye injuries may be classified as follows:
Blunt Eye Trauma
Blunt trauma is due to a direct blow to the eye, by a blunt object. Usually the eye ball remains intact, but there can be very serious internal damage to the eye, which can result in visual loss. It can cause damage, not only to the eye, but also to surrounding tissues, e.g. eye lids, orbital bones, sinuses. Common causes of blunt trauma to the eye are cricket, tennis and squash ball injuries, fist or elbow injuries, stones, and other missiles, belt buckle and bungee cord injuries. ALL cases of blunt trauma should be seen by an ophthalmologist, who can examine the eye and identify any serious damage. Sometimes, the damage may not present until days, weeks, months or even years after the injury. A child with a history of blunt eye trauma, even after they are feeling better, should have their eye examined by an ophthalmologist at least annually, for the rest of their life.
Blunt Eye Trauma
A penetrating eye injury is one which breaches the wall of the eye ball. It is usually caused by a sharp object. These injuries are often very serious, because apart from the damage that they cause to the ocular structures, they can also cause infection to get into the eye ball. Even when these injuries heal, they almost always heal with a scar, which can reduce vision considerably, especially if the cornea, the clear window in the front of the eye, is affected.
Objects that commonly cause penetrating eye injuries include sticks or twigs, nails or screws, pencils, pens, ice picks, compasses, fish hooks, scissors, knives, metal coat hangers
Chemical Eye Injury
Chemical injuries are common, and easily prevented. They are caused by chemical agents spilling or splashing into the eye. These can cause burns and scarring on the front of the eye, resulting in blindness, if severe. Common agents that cause chemical eye injuries include bleach, acid, gas or kerosene. In chemical eye injuries, first aid is most important, and can affect the final outcome. The most important part of treatment, is to flush out the chemical with as much clean water as possible, usually for a period of 15 minutes, even before seeking medical attention.
Motor Vechile Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents account for a large percentage of childhood eye trauma. All three types of childhood eye injuries can be caused by motor vehicle accidents, blunt trauma, penetrating injuries and chemical injuries. By having children travel in a car seat, or using a seatbelt, may eye injuries as a result of motor vehicle accidents can be minimized.
Prevention of Childhood Eye Injuries
In the event that there has been an eye injury,
|AUTHOR:||Dr. Lisa Leo-Rhynie|
|DATE:||October 7, 2015|
|GENRE:||Ophthalmology, Biology, Medical Sciences|