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Title: OCULAR INJURIES AMONG PATIENTS (2006)

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Introduction: Ocular injuries are a common cause of ocular morbidity and utilization of ophthalmic services. However, there is scarce information especially in Africa on its magnitude. Globally, it is estimated that more than half a million blinding injuries occur every year. General objective: To determine the magnitude of ocular injuries among patients attending Ruharo Eye Centre. Specific objectives: To determine the prevalence of ocular injuries, cause and type of injuries among patients attending Ruharo Eye Centre, and to determine the circumstances and place of the patient at the time of injury. Methodology: A cross-sectional non-interventional study was conducted on patients attending Ruharo Eye Centre. Patients with ocular injuries were consecutively recruited and data was collected using a structured questionnaire. Results: A total of 10652 were seen at Ruharo Eye Centre during the study period. They were 5420 (50.9%) males and 5232 (49.1%) females. Out of the total, 429 (4.0%) [95% CI 3.6 – 4.3] patients were enrolled with ocular injuries. The males sustained more injuries compared to females at a male to female ratio of 2.7:1 OR = 1.056 [95% CI 0.855 – 1.904]. The home accounted for the majority of ocular injuries (42.0%), followed by workplace (23.5%). The ‘Gardens/farms’ and workshops were the leading workplaces with work related injuries. The majority of the injuries were sustained accidentally (87.6%), followed by assault (9.2%). Mechanical energy was the commonest cause of ocular injuries (n = 416, 96.9%) followed by chemical energy (2.8%). The frequent object causing mechanical injuries was ‘Stick/firewood/thorn’ (28.4%) followed by insects (10.4%). The globe was the most injured ocular tissue (n = 402, 94%) and out of the globe injuries, 82.8% were closed globe. Sixteen (16.7%) of globe injuries were open-globe injuries. Conclusions: Ocular injuries were a common morbidity among ophthalmic patients attending Ruharo Eye Centre. The risk of ocular injuries varied with age, gender and occupation. The highest incidence of ocular injuries occurred among young adults. Males had a significantly higher risk than females especially in the younger age groups. The farmers sustained majority of injuries. The globe was the common ocular tissue injured, and closed globe injuries were the majority of injuries sustained. The causes of ocular injuries were many and variable, and were related to the location where injuries were sustained. However accidental ‘stick/firewood/thorn’ injuries to the eye were the commonest. Home environment accounted for the majority of injuries as compared to workplace, school, path/road and public places.

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