Pediatric ocular trauma is a major cause of acquired monocular blindness. Post-traumatic visual impairment can lead to significant handicap. In France, recent data on the epidemiology of pediatric ocular trauma are lacking.
To describe the characteristics of a pediatric cohort with ocular trauma and to analyse patient outcomes.
This was a retrospective observational study of pediatric ocular trauma (age<15 years) presenting to pediatric and ophthalmology emergency units of our tertiary university hospital between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2016. Data were collected on: age, sex, time and circumstances of trauma, injury type and location, trauma mechanism, other associated injuries, hospitalisation rate and length of stay, treatment, and sequelae (visual impairment). Ocular traumas were classified according to the Birmingham Eye Trauma Terminology (BETT) system and the Ocular Trauma Score (OTS).
A total of 337 children were included (247 males). The global mean age was 8.4±4.1 years (range 6 months to 14.9 years). The trauma occurred at home (51%) or in a public area (21%). Blunt objects (22%) and direct trauma (17%) were the main mechanisms. According to the BETT, 23% of ocular traumas were open-globe traumas (OGT): penetrating (n=39), perforating (n=12), with intraocular foreign body (n=24). Among closed-globe injuries (CGT), hyphema was the most frequent lesion (22%). Associated injuries were recorded in 32 patients. In all, 63% of patients had an OTS of 5 (good visual prognosis) while 39 children (12%) had an OTS of ≤3. In 47 patients, there was an initial surgery; 62% of children were hospitalised. By the end of the ophthalmic follow-up, 32 patients (9.5%) had sequelae. Children aged between 2 and 5 years had the greatest proportion of sequelae (15%). Compared with female patients, male patients were older (P=0.0007) and were more frequently injured by projectiles (P=0.036). Compared with CGT, OGT were more frequent among younger children (P=0.0015). Ocular injuries secondary to a projectile and spring-summer accidents were associated more frequently with a poor visual prognosis (OTS ≤3; P=0.036, OR=2.5 [1.1-5.8] and P<0.0001, OR=5.8 [3.2-10.7] respectively).
The annual admission for pediatric ocular trauma was stable during the study period (200 cases per 100,000 annual trauma admissions in the first period [2007-2011] and 195 cases per 100,000 during the most recent period [2012-2016]). Projectiles such as Airsoft gun bullets and paintball are still the cause of severe injuries while reports on ocular injuries secondary to blaster or Nerf guns use are starting to be published.
The great majority of ocular traumas could be prevented, especially by wearing protective goggles during at-risk activities. French legislation should be stricter about the sale of any Airsoft gun to children under 18 years old. Parents must repeat educational warnings to their children handling sharp objects. The social and psychological burden of relative visual impairment is of importance: One in ten children will have a permanent visual defect.

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