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Fireworks-related Ocular Trauma

1Gentsch D., 2Haentzsch A., 1Meier P., 1Wiedemann P.,
1Universität Leipzig, Klinik und Poliklinik für Augenheilkunde (Leipzig)
2Universitätsaugenklinik Leipzig (Leipzig)

Purpose: Injuries caused by fireworks at New Year's Eve are common and a great part of them affect the eyes. General aim, with so far only few publications, is, to achieve more details about this type of injury.
Method: A retrospective review of epidemiological data, mechanisms of injury, findings and therapies of 78 patients, that were treated in the University eye hospital Leipzig from 1999 to 2002.
Results: The injuries caused by pyrotechnical products ranged from superficial damage to severe contusions. Half of all accidents occured over the New Year celebrations of 1999 (Millenium), 69.2% of the patients were males. The median age was 17.5 years with a minimum at 4 and a maximum at 61 years. We found that 50% of the patients were minors (under the age of 18) and 80.8% were younger than 30 years. Morphological changes varied widely: The most common injuries (79.5%) showed superficial lesions of the lids, corneal and conjuctival foreign bodies and burns. Severe contusions with intraocular damage occured in 20.5%. Further surgical interventions had been necessary in 9% of all patients. One third of the severe ocular injuries affected children between the age of 4 and 14 years.
Conclusions: Particularly children and young adults suffer from serious ocular injuries caused by fireworks. An improvement in preventive measures seems to be recommendable.

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