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Paediatric eye injuries in Finland - Helsinki eye trauma study.

PURPOSE: To determine the current population-based epidemiology, treatment, use of resources and outcomes of children's eye injuries in Finland.

METHODS: The study included all new patients, 16 years of age or under, with ocular or orbital traumas taken into care to the Helsinki University Eye Hospital (population base 1.5 million people) in 1 year. The follow-up period was 3 months.

RESULTS: Two hundred and two children's eye injuries were treated. The eye injury incidence was 5.2-8.3 per 10 000 per year, including all minor and major eye traumas. Eye injury most likely occurred at the junior high school age (13-16 years). Thirty-three percentage of accidents took place at home and 24% at school or in day care. The most common causes were sports equipment (15%), contact with human body (12%) and superficial foreign bodies (11%). Excluding minor injuries, contusion was the most common diagnosis (n = 60, 30%). Eighty-seven percentage of contusion patients were estimated to need lifelong follow-up due to elevated glaucoma risk. Nine percentage of all patients had a permanent disability. Guns, fireworks, tools and pellet guns were relatively the most dangerous objects. Pellet guns caused 6% of eye injuries, 36% of them causing permanent impairment. The number of outpatient visits was altogether 443, inpatient days were 49, and 60 children had major surgeries.

CONCLUSIONS: Use of protective eyewear would have prevented or diminished eye traumas caused by pellet gun, floorball, most of the firework and in many superficial foreign body. The use of pellet guns and protective eyewear should be more supervised. Fireworks and tools are not suitable toys for children.

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