09 Aug Young Children At High Risk of Chemical Eye Burns
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
R. Sterling Haring, DO, MPH
Center for Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety
University of Lugano, Switzerland
Department of Health Policy and Management
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Chemical burns of the eye are among the most serious and emergent of eye injuries. In the worst cases, corrosive chemicals can eat into the eye and damage internal structures, rendering the individual with little or no vision in the affected eye. Given the proximity of the eyes to one another, it is not uncommon for these injuries to be bilateral, further complicating the clinical picture.
Working-age individuals, particularly men, are known to be a high-risk group for these types of injuries. In the first nationwide study on this issue, we found that 1-year old infants were at substantially higher (1.5x) risk of these injuries than the highest-risk age group among adults; 2-year-olds were a close second. These injuries tapered off as children grew older, such that the risk among 1-year-old infants was 13 times higher than that of 7-year-old children. Across all ages, injuries occurred most frequently among lower-income households.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Young children are at very high risk of chemical eye burns. These burns can be devastating, and largely occur in the home. Such injuries are almost entirely avoidable with proper storage and use of household chemicals, and parents and medical providers should consider this as an important part of “child-proofing” a home. Household chemicals, such as cleaning agents, should be stored in an lockable, out-of-reach place, and spray bottles should be turned to the “lock” position when not in use. If a burn occurs, the eye should be immediately rinsed with lukewarm water for several minutes to limit further damage, and the patient should follow up with an ophthalmologist or other physician.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Future research should focus on risk factors for improper storage of household chemicals. Such work would help to identify high-risk households for targeted interventions and appropriate policies.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Haring R, Sheffield ID, Channa R, Canner JK, Schneider EB. Epidemiologic Trends of Chemical Ocular Burns in the United States. JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online August 04, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.2645.
Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.
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