Frequency and causes of ocular trauma among children attending Mulago Hospital Eye Department
Background: Ocular trauma is a frequent and avoidable cause of visual impairment. Injuries range from a small corneal epithelial abrasion to pen¬etrating and globe rupture leading to blindness or poor vision. Hospital based studies of eye trauma indicate that about two thirds of those affected are male, predominantly children and young adults with injuries by sticks, stones, and metallic objects being the most.
Objective: To examine the frequency, pattern and causes of ocular trauma among children at Mulago hospital using a hospital based descriptive cross- sectional study.
Results: Of the 161 children seen with ocular trauma, 45.9% were aged 0-5 years, 32.3% were aged >5-12 years and 21.8% were aged >12-17years; the male to female ratio was 2.1. Sticks were the commonest agent of injury. The most common places of trauma was in the home and school, and the commonest activity at occurrence of injuries was playing and fighting. Only 2.5% of cases presented to the hospital within 24 hours. About a quarter presented with immediate visual acuity better than 6/18, while 19.2% presented with visual acuity worse than 6/18-6/60, and 44% presented with visual acuity worse than 6/60-NPL.
Conclusion: The frequency of ocular trauma amongst children attending Mulago Hospital is high, one in every five children seen at the eye clinics had ocular trauma.
Key words: Mulago Hospital, ocular trauma in children, paediatric.