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Causes and visual outcome of childhood eye injuries in Nigeria


Two hundred and twenty-eight children of both sexes (152 males and 76 females) aged between 1 and 15 years treated for eye injuries at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria were studied. The injuries were commonly sustained during domestic activities (29.8%), at play or sports (23.7%), in the schoolroom (16.7%) and during farm work (10.1%). Causative agents were mostly sticks, followed by stone missiles and other flying objects. There was a general delay in reporting to hospital in all types and degrees of severity of injuries, with only 28.5% reporting in the first 24 hours and as many as 10.5% after 1 month. How quickly the patient came to hospital was determined more by social and economic factors than by sex, age and type of injury. Visual outcome was best in patients with mild non-penetrating injuries and worst in those with severe penetrating injuries. Amongst the latter the outcome was worse when the posterior segment was involved than when the injury involved only the anterior segment. Our study showed that there has been a change in the causation of childhood eye injuries in the country compared with reports of 25 years ago. The visual outcome in our patients was worse than in reports from developed countries. This was due mainly to delay in seeking specialist treatment and lack of sophistication of the treatment, especially in severe cases.


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Umeh, R., Umeh, O. Causes and visual outcome of childhood eye injuries in Nigeria. Eye 11, 489–495 (1997).

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  • Eye injuries
  • Children
  • Visual outcome

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