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JOURNAL ARTICLE
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[Ocular injuries in children aged 0-15 years: epidemiological and clinical aspects at the Bangui National Teaching Hospital].

PURPOSE: Ocular injuries in children are frequent and are an ophthalmological emergency. If not managed sufficiently early, these lesions may cause definitive partial loss of vision or blindness. In this survey, the authors analyze different epidemiological and clinical aspects of ocular injuries at the Bangui National Teaching Hospital in the Central African Republic to increase the awareness of children's parents, guardians, and care-takers.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: A prospective study was conducted on 194 cases in the ophthalmology department over a period of 3 years, and included children aged 0-15 years. A total of 197 eyes were examined by the same practitioner, comprising 191 unilateral ocular injuries and three bilateral injuries.

RESULTS: Of the children examined, 59% were males and 41% were females, with a sex ratio of 1.3. The age group with the highest exposure (39.3%) was between 5 and 10 years. Punishments (25.9%), accidents during games (19.3%) and fights (18.8%) were the main sources of these ocular injuries. Consultation most often occurred long after the incident. Only 2.0% were seen before the 6th hour and 43.7% between 48 hours and 1 week. The clinical picture was dominated by bruises posing a therapeutic problem: 25 hyphemas (12.7%), 19 conjunctival injuries (9.6%), 19 lens dislocations with or without vitreous loss (9.6%), 18 trauma-induced cataracts (9.4%), and 15 eye lid injuries with or without lachrymal duct ruptures (7.6%). The most serious injuries were cornea injuries with or without hernia of the iris (19.8%) and nine globe dislocations (4.5%).

CONCLUSION: The frequency and gravity of the lesions identified, the severity of the injuries and the delay in treating these injuries show that the public authorities, parents and child care-takers need more information in order to reduce the frequency of these accidents.

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