Medical Surveillance Monthly Report (MSMR). Volume 15, Number 9, November 2008
ARMED FORCES HEALTH SURVEILLANCE CENTER SILVER SPRING MD
Pagination or Media Count:
Eye injuries range in severity from minor scratches and bruises to serious trauma resulting in blindness. Eye injuries cause significant morbidity among military members. A review of Army, Navy and Air Force Safety Center data from 1988-1998 indicated that an eye injury results in an average 5.9 days of work lost and 6,295 in treatment costs. Studies of eye injuries during peacetime document that the majority of hospitalized cases are caused by non-military activities such as motor vehicle crashes, fights and falls. Eye hazardous occupations, such as metalworking and welding, are frequent causes of both hospitalized and ambulatory cases among service members. A significant proportion of the eye injuries sustained during military service are likely preventable through the use of protective eyewear. Combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have added significantly to the total injury burden of U.S. military members. Battle injuries were the primary reason for 16 of all medical evacuations from Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom during 2003-2004.5 During combat operations, the number, nature, and intensity of eye injury hazards significantly increase. In December 2004, Military Combat Protective Eyewear MCEP became standard issue for deploying forces under the Rapid Fielding Initiative RFI Program. MCEP is encouraged for use in all eye-hazardous situations, in both combat and non-combat situations. The effects, if any, of voluntary use of MCEP among deployed forces have not been systematically assessed. This report examines the natures, frequencies, and trends of ocular injuries among active component service members since 1998. Of particular interest, the numbers, rates, and trends of potentially blinding injuries since the beginning of the war and in relation to the issuance of MCEP are assessed. period. For all other injuries, only the first diagnosis per person was included.
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