Browse Publications Technical Papers 2003-01-0511

Eye Injury and Orbital Fracture Patterns in Frontal Automobile Crashes 2003-01-0511

The purpose of this study was to investigate eye injuries and orbital fractures resulting from frontal automobile crashes and to determine the effects of frontal airbags. For this two part study, cases in NASS were selected from the years 1993 through 2000 that include drivers and front seat occupants only, while excluding ejected occupants and rollovers. In addition, only frontal impacts were considered, which are defined as having a primary direction of force (PDOF) of 11, 12, or 1 o'clock. Eye injuries in the NASS database were identified using the current AIS injury codes. An analysis of the cases indicates that 3.1% of occupants exposed to an airbag deployment sustained an eye injury, compared to 2.0% of those occupants not exposed to an airbag deployment. Moreover, there was a significant increase in the risk of corneal abrasion for occupants exposed to an airbag deployment (ρ = 0.03). Of all occupants who were exposed to an airbag deployment, 0.09% sustained an orbital fracture. In contrast, occupants who were not exposed to an airbag deployment were over twice as likely to sustain an orbital fracture (0.22%), but this comparison was not statistically different (ρ = 0.10). The data suggest that while airbag increase the overall risk of sustaining any type of eye injury, they decrease the risk of sustaining more serious orbital fractures.


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