1970-02-01

Serious Eye Injuries Produced by Windshield Damage - An Actual Problem in Ophthalmology 700912

Eye injuries resulting from broken windshields are very frequent. The mechanism of such accidents reveals that the head of the passenger, about 0.1 sec after the crash, is thrown against the inner face of the windshield with a relative speed corresponding to the collision speed within a range of 60 km/hr. It often happens that the skull penetrates single-sheet safety glass, which is found in 95% of German vehicles. In these cases the eye region falls toward the lower breaking zone of the windshield, which leads to a very characteristic, often absolutely horizontal line of injury. Over a period of five years, of the 240 patients observed in the University Eye Hospital in Munich, 62 patients (26%) suffered bilateral eye injuries due to windshield particles. In practically all cases, lacerations and cuts of the eyelids were observed. In 65% of the cases, serious lacerations of the corneo-scleral border of the eye bulb-affecting the lens, vitreous, and retina-were present. These perforating wounds led to blindness in 40% of the cases. In a period of 10 years, about 500 people became bilaterally blind from road accidents in Germany. By introducing both three-point safety belts and high-impact laminated glass windshields, all eye injuries resulting from windshield splinters could more or less be eliminated.

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