BACKGROUND: The mechanisms of modern warfare unfortunately have lead to many ocular injuries. This study attempts to quantify the effect of military combat eye protection on the incidence of ocular injury among US service members engaged in current combat operations. METHODS: We retrospectively gathered data from the Joint Theater Trauma Registry from patients entering level III hospital facilities in Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom from March 2003 to September 2006. The presence of ocular injury was the primary outcome measure; whereas severity of injury and the effect of eye protection education on compliance with wearing this protection were secondary outcome measurements. RESULTS: Ocular protection status at the time of injury was documented in 3,276 casualties during the collection period. Of these, 451 of 2,671 (17%) casualties who reported wearing ocular protection sustained an ocular injury and 155 of 605 (26%) casualties who reported not wearing eye protection suffered an eye injury (p < 0.01). After an intense ocular protection education program, there was a 16% increase in compliance of eye protection use in combat. Finally, when the severity of eye injuries are compared using an abbreviated injury scale, casualties with eye protection had decreased injury severity in addition to incidence (p < 005). CONCLUSION: This study suggests that the military combat eye protection used by military personnel during current combat operations has resulted in significantly fewer and less severe ocular injuries. Further, results from this study may also suggest that Department of Defense educational programs may have been successful in increasing eye protection compliance.
- Combat eye injury
- Combat eye protection
- Ocular trauma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine