Motor Vehicle Crash-associated Eye Injuries Presenting to U.S. Emergency Departments

Grayson W. Armstrong, BA; Allison J. Chen, BA; James G. Linakis, MD, PhD; Michael J. Mello, MD, MPH; Paul B. Greenberg, MD


Western J Emerg Med. 2014;15(6):693-700. 

In This Article


The findings reported in this study should be considered in light of several limitations. First and foremost, the NEISS-AIP database only reports injuries presenting to U.S. EDs, which may skew our results toward more serious eye injuries. It is unknown what proportion of MVC-associated eye injuries present to non-ED healthcare settings, but our study suggests that the majority of MVC-related eye injuries are seen in EDs. Second, the severity, visual outcomes, and long-term morbidities of injuries were not available in the NEISS-AIP database for evaluation. Third, injuries to the ocular adnexal tissues were coded as injuries to the "face" within the NEISS-AIP database, making it difficult to study these injuries specifically. Fourth, the NEISS-AIP is more likely to record cases of isolated ocular trauma as opposed to eye injury cases that occur as a secondary diagnosis or that occur during multi-trauma, unless the principle multi-trauma diagnosis is determined to affect the eyeball. This may result in an underestimation in both the number of and the severity of MVC eye injuries presenting to EDs in our study. Similarly, victims whose injuries were coded in the NEISS-AIP as affecting "25–50 percent body" or "all body parts," instead of "eyeball" may have sustained eye injuries, but we did not include these cases in our study. Additionally, the NEISS-AIP does not record the specific anatomic area of the eye affected by injury (i.e. cornea, vitreous, retina). Lastly, using the entire U.S. population as the denominator in rate calculations results in an underestimation of true incidence of injury, as this calculation assumes that the entire population is a vehicle occupant and that all individuals are at equal risk of MVC eye injury.