Airbag-Associated Ocular Trauma
Marcus Muallem, Hanna Garzozi
Ophthalmology Dept., HaEmek Medical Center, Afula
Airbags have received widespread recognition as an effective means of enhancing automobile safety. They are particularly effective in frontal and front angle collisions which otherwise would be fatal or cause serious injuries. Inflation of the bag helps protect the driver and front-seat-passenger from hitting the steering wheel, dashboard or windshield. In frontal crashes airbags have reduced driver deaths, hospital admission rates, and incidence of brain injury. On the other hand, an increasing variety of airbag-associated organ injuries has been reported, including blunt ocular and chemical trauma. 2 cases of ocular trauma due to airbags which resulted in choroidal rupture with disastrous outcome in terms of visual acuity are presented. Since the very first report in May 1991 of airbag-associated ocular trauma until June 1996, there has apparently been only 1 case of choroidal rupture due to airbag-associated trauma, presented in 1 sentence of a brief report. Although airbag-related eye trauma may be relatively infrequent, the severity of the injuries incurred, especially when the posterior segment of the eye was involved, warrants research on new airbag design that minimizes the risk of ocular injury. Meanwhile all cases of airbag-associated ocular trauma should be reported, so that medical staff, the general population and car manufacturers will become more aware of this medical issue.