REVIEW
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Ocular morbidity associated with airbag deployment: a report of seven cases and a review of the literature.

Cornea 2001 March
PURPOSE: To review ocular injuries secondary to airbag deployment that were seen in our institution and were reported in the literature.

METHODS: Patients examined at our institution between 1997 and 2000 were evaluated for ocular injuries caused by airbags. A review of the medical literature using Medline was performed. All reports involving ocular injuries secondary to airbags were included in this study.

RESULTS: Seven cases from our medical center were identified to involve airbag-related eye injuries. The ages of the patients ranged from 4 to 73 years. Ocular injuries included corneal abrasion, corneal decompensation, corneal alkali injury, hyphema, iris sphincter tears, vitreous hemorrhage, macular retinal pigment epithelium disruption, dislocated posterior chamber intraocular lens, and commotio retinae. A review of the medical literature showed 74 cases involving 80 eyes. The ages of the patients ranged from 2 to 81 years. Males slightly outnumbered females by a ratio of 1.1 to 1.0. The speed of the vehicles ranged from 0 to 65 miles per hour, with an average reported speed of 31 miles per hour. Reported injuries ranged from mild corneal abrasions to open globes.

CONCLUSIONS: Ocular morbidity secondary to airbag deployment must be recognized as a significant risk for motor vehicle drivers and passengers. Improvements in airbag safety will include increased consumer awareness and manufacturer design modification.

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