Study Looks at Pediatric Firearm-Related Eye Injuries in the U.S.

Analysis shows firearm injury risk factors vary by age and race

THURSDAY, Oct. 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- A quarter of all U.S. ocular firearm injuries occur within the pediatric population, according to a study published online Oct. 10 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Rebecca Weiss, M.D., of the Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York, and colleagues used data collected from the National Trauma Data Bank to analyze firearm-related ocular injuries (1,972 injuries) for pediatric patients (younger than 21 years of age) occurring between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2014.

The researchers found that the most common pediatric firearm-related ocular injuries were open wounds of the eyeball (41.6 percent), followed by ocular adnexa (21.1 percent). Most pediatric patients with ocular injuries were male (85.1 percent) and adolescents with a mean age of 15.2 years (52.6 percent). Patients aged 19 to 21 years old were more likely to withstand assault injuries. Black patients had the greatest likelihood of injuries caused by the intention to assault, whereas white patients were more likely to have self-inflicted injuries. These injuries, which were largely found to be sight-threatening and associated with traumatic brain injury, most often occurred either within the home (38.6 percent) or in the street (24.8 percent). The investigators found that patients aged 3 years or younger had a greater likelihood of unintentional injuries (odds ratio, 4.41) and injuries occurring in the home (odds ratio, 5.39).

"Most patients in this study survived with potentially lifelong disability and impeded physical, academic, and social development," the authors write. "These findings, if they can be confirmed in analyses for 2015 through 2019, suggest that the prevention of firearm-related ocular injuries may require a multifaceted and targeted approach that could use the associated factors that we have identified."

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