A five-year retrospective study of the epidemiological characteristics and visual outcomes of patients hospitalized for ocular trauma in a Mediterranean area

BMC Ophthalmol. 2008 Apr 22;8:6. doi: 10.1186/1471-2415-8-6.


Background: To determine the epidemiological characteristics and visual outcome of ocular trauma in southern Italy.

Methods: All cases of ocular trauma admitted to Department of Ophthalmology of Palermo University, Italy, from January 2001-December 2005 were retrospectively reviewed for open- or closed-globe injury (OGI or CGI). Data extracted included age, sex, residence, initial and final visual acuity (VA), cause and treatment of injury, hospitalization. The injuries were classified by Ocular Trauma Classification System (OTCS) and Birmingham Eye Trauma Terminology (BETT). We also referred to the Ocular Trauma Score (OTS) in evaluating the final visual outcome.

Results: Of the 298 eyes, there were 146 OGI and 152 CGI. Fifty eyes (16.8%) had an intraocular foreign body (IOFB). The annual incidence of eye injuries was 4.9 per 100,000. Most injuries occurred in men (84.6%, p < 0.0005), with an average age of 33.0 vs. 49.9 for women (p = 0.005). Cause of injury differed significantly by gender (p = 0.001) and urban vs. rural location (p = 0.009). The most frequent causes in men were outdoor activities related injuries (30.9%), work-related (25.4%), and sport-related (17.5%), and in women were home-related (52.2%) and outdoor activities related injuries (30.4%). In urban areas, road accidents were more frequent; in rural areas, work-related injuries were more frequent with a greater rate of IOFBs than in urban areas (p = 0.002). The incidence of OGI and CGI differed in work-related injuries (p < 0.0005), sport-related injuries (p < 0.0005), and assaults (p = 0.033). The final visual acuity was 20/40 (6/12) or better in 144 eyes (48.3%), 20/40-20/200 (6/12-6/60) in 90 eyes (30.2%), and <20/200 (6/60) or less in 46 eyes (15.5%). Eighteen eyes (6%) had a final acuity of no light perception. Of those eyes that presented with hand motion vision or better, 220 (86.6%) had a final vision of better than 20/200 (6/60). Initial visual acuity was found to be correlated with final visual acuity (Spearman's correlation coefficient = 0.658; p < 0.001). The likelihood of the final visual acuities in the OTS categories was correlated to that of the OTS study group in 12 of 14 cases (85.7%).

Conclusion: This analysis provides insight into the epidemiology of patients hospitalized for ocular trauma. The findings indicate that ocular trauma is a significant cause of visual loss in this population.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Eye Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Eye Injuries / physiopathology
  • Eye Injuries / therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • Time Factors
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Visual Acuity*