Ocular Trauma From Dog Bites: Characterization, Associations, and Treatment Patterns at a Regional Level I Trauma Center Over 11 Years

Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. Jul-Aug 2016;32(4):279-83. doi: 10.1097/IOP.0000000000000501.


Purpose: Canine bites frequently result in periocular injury. The authors aimed to further characterize the dog breeds, types of injuries inflicted, and treatment outcomes.

Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed on all dog bites recorded in the University of Washington trauma registry from 2003 to 2013. Cases involving ocular injury were further investigated to identify ocular tissues affected, treatment patterns, and outcomes.

Results: A total of 342 dog bite victims were identified, of whom 91 sustained ocular trauma (27%). The mean age of patients with ocular injuries was significantly lower than those without (14.1 ± 1.9 vs. 30.0 ± 1.3 years, p < 0.001). Children bitten by dogs were 4.2 times more likely to sustain ocular injuries than adults (45.2% vs. 10.8%). The most common breed of dog inflicting ocular injury was the pit bull (25%). Forty percent of patients with ocular trauma sustained canalicular lacerations and epiphora was noted in only 3 patients (8%) after repair. Three percent had orbital fractures and 2% sustained ruptured globes. Infections were rare, affecting only 2% of patients.

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this study is the largest to date to report the incidence and characteristics of ocular injuries sustained from dog bites. These injuries were disproportionately more common in children and have a high incidence of canalicular laceration. Though rare, globe injuries and orbital fractures were seen in this population. Importantly, this study establishes that pit bulls are the most frequent breed associated with ocular injuries from dog bites.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Bites and Stings / diagnosis*
  • Dogs
  • Eye Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Eye Injuries / surgery
  • Female
  • Forecasting*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trauma Centers*
  • Treatment Outcome