Chemical Eye Injuries: Epidemiologic Trends and Risk Factors

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Chemical eye injuries most often occur in residential locations
Chemical eye injuries most often occur in residential locations

(HealthDay News) — Young children have the highest rates for chemical ocular injuries, according to research published online Aug. 4 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

R. Sterling Haring, D.O., M.P.H., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues describe epidemiologic trends and risk factors for chemical burns of the eye. Data were analyzed from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample for 900 emergency departments across the United States.

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A total of 144,149 chemical ocular burns were diagnosed at emergency departments nationwide from Jan. 1, 2010, through Dec. 31, 2013. The researchers found that 56.6 percent of all cases were men. The median age was 32 years, with female patients presenting at a younger age than male patients (median, 32 versus 34 years; P < 0.001). Children aged 1 and 2 years had the highest injury rates (28.61 and 23.49 injuries per 100,000 population, respectively). Injuries also occurred at an increased rate among adults aged 18 to 64 years (mean, 13.28 per 100,000 population). Alkali injuries were more common than acid injuries (53.6 versus 46.4 percent). Chemical eye injuries most often occurred in residential locations and among those in the lowest and second-lowest income quartiles.

"Young children represent the single highest-risk group for ocular chemical injuries," the authors write. "Education and other interventions concerned with preventing these injuries will be most effective if used accordingly."

One author disclosed financial ties to Bergeim.

Abstract
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