Early and late complications of ocular burn injuries

J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2015 Mar;68(3):356-61. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2014.10.031. Epub 2014 Nov 5.


Background: Ocular involvement in facial burns may lead to significant long-term morbidity. The aims of this study were to analyse the epidemiology, management and outcomes of ocular burn injuries, as well as to identify risk factors for developing early and late ocular complications.

Methods: A retrospective medical chart review was conducted for 125 patients with ocular burns who were admitted to the Victorian Adult Burns Service (VABS), from November 2000 to January 2010. Univariate analyses was utilised to identify demographic and injury related variables associated with early and late complications.

Results: The majority of patients were male (n=101, 80.8%), and the mean (range) age was 40.7 (15-86) years. The most common mechanism was flame burns (n=77, 61.6%), and most were accidental (n=114, 91.2%). Early ocular complications occurred in 50 (40.0% [95% CI: 31.3%-49.1%]) patients, with the commonest being visual loss (n=39, 31.2%). Chemical burns, ocular discomfort, peri-orbital oedema, corneal injury, as well as eyelid and facial burns of increasing severity were associated with developing an early complication. Late ocular complications occurred in 19 (15.2% [95% CI: 9.4%-22.7%]) patients, with visual loss being the most frequent (n=13, 10.4%). Chemical burns, ocular discomfort, corneal injury of increasing severity, visual loss on presentation, ectropion, as well as eyelid burns of increasing depth were associated with late morbidity.

Conclusion: Chemical burns, ocular discomfort, as well as corneal injury and eyelid burns of increasing severity were risk factors for both early and late ocular complications.

Level of evidence: III (retrospective comparative study).

Keywords: Complications; Early; Late; Management; Ocular burns; Risk factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Eye Burns / complications*
  • Eye Burns / epidemiology
  • Eye Burns / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Victoria / epidemiology