Ocular changes from electrical burn injuries. A literature review and report of cases

J Burn Care Rehabil. Sep-Oct 1991;12(5):458-62. doi: 10.1097/00004630-199109000-00012.


One hundred fifty-nine consecutive patients with high-voltage burns were retrospectively reviewed to determine the ocular sequelae of these injuries. Five patients had ophthalmic changes (two had recurrent iritis, eight had cataracts, two had macular holes, and one had central retinal artery occlusion). All four patients with cataractous changes had characteristic anterior subcapsular opacifications, except for one patient who presented with a dense white opacified lens. All had bilateral lenticular changes in which the denser cataract developed earlier than the contact wound and ipsilateral to it. Central retinal artery occlusion has not been previously reported as a complication of electrical burns. Macular holes, formerly believed to be rare in these injuries, were found in two of the five patients. Ocular complications from electrical burn injuries are uncommon. Although a number of these ocular changes occur immediately after injury, many of the visually impairing changes develop days and even years after a severe electrical burn injury; thus, careful follow-up is mandated.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burns, Electric / complications*
  • Cataract / etiology
  • Corneal Opacity / etiology
  • Eye Diseases / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iritis / drug therapy
  • Iritis / etiology
  • Male
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies