No matter how effective the treatment of an eye injury proves to be, prevention is always preferred. Effective prevention, in turn, must be based on data collected and analyzed in a scientifically rigorous manner. Ideally, such data are population-based, instead of representing a survey of patients presenting to a single institution over a limited period of time (snapshot).1 An overview of different study characteristics is given in Table 1.7.1.

Any data collection system has to answer at least the most elementary questions in epidemiology: who; when; where; and how. It is immensely useful if clinical data are included so that the short- and long-term significance of the injury are also known.

O Pitfall

Designing a good survey questionnaire is not an easy task. Asking for too little information reduces usefulness; asking for too much results in a low response rate with low scientific credibility.

Rehabilitation of the eye trauma victim is similar to the process employed for those losing sight from other etiologies in many respects, but in others

1 This does not imply that snapshots do not yield useful information; their value, however, is more circumscribed than that of an ongoing surveillance system whose catch area and duration are greater.

Table 1.7.1 Analysis of recent epidemiological studies


Study design and duration, subjects

Most important findings



Retrospective; population-based; three rural-areas-based; epidemiological + clinical; all injury types included; 5-year survey

Workplace injuries were the most common; vegetable matter the most frequent cause



Retrospective; population-based; single-institution-based; epidemiolog-ical + clinical; all injury types included; 8-year survey

Overall injury incidence and alcohol use significant cause among Aboriginals; initial visual acuity correlates with final vision


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