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“You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out”: A US Emergency Department Story :

January 10, 2018

It would be a rare pediatrician who does not get calls or visits from patients who have experienced an acute eye-injury secondary to sports or recreational play. But just how common are eye injuries that are sports or recreation-related among the spectrum of injuries presenting to emergency departments (EDs) and what do these injuries consist of?

It would be a rare pediatrician who does not get calls or visits from patients who have experienced an acute eye-injury secondary to sports or recreational play. But just how common are eye injuries that are sports or recreation-related among the spectrum of injuries presenting to emergency departments (EDs) and what do these injuries consist of? Miller et al. (10.1542/peds.2017-3083) decided to look into this topic by analyzing data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, a retrospective describe study of children less than or equal to 17 years of age seen in EDs for acute eye injuries from sports or recreation from 1990 to 2012.  The authors have data on almost 442,000 eye injuries or 26.9 per 100,000 children.  While there is much to observe and learn about in the information shared by the authors, it was interesting to see that over time the rate of eye injury from “non-powder guns” has increased by just shy of 170% and these gun injuries make up almost half of the hospitalizations that result from these acute sports or recreation-related injuries.  

The authors provide some great discussion and  take-aways from this study and offer  better strategies we can advocate for (e.g. mandated use of protective eye equipment in more sport and recreational events) that are well worth your attention.  For an eye-opening look at the spectrum of eye-injuries in our patients who play sports and engage in recreation, check out this comprehensive analysis and think about how often you ask about eye protection in the various sports and recreational activities discussed in this paper in your patients who may be engaging in such activities and putting their eyes more at risk than they should or need to be.

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