Purpose: To assess the epidemiology of paediatric ocular trauma presenting to the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), Jamaica, between January 2000 and December 2005.
Methods: Retrospective review of all paediatric patients (≤ 16 years old) admitted with ocular trauma in the UHWI trauma database.
Results: Three hundred and ninety-seven patients were admitted with ocular trauma during the study period, 36.5% of admissions were ≤ 16 years old. Males comprised 69.6% (101/145) of the paediatric admissions. The mean age was 8.3 years (95% CI 7.2, 9.4) and 8.7 years (95% CI 7.9, 9.4) for the females and males, respectively. The commonest place of injury was in the home: 47.5% and 50% in males and females, respectively. Females were more likely to be involved in domestic disputes (4.8%). Stones (20.3%) were the most common causative agent of eye injury in children, only occurring in the 4–16-year old age group. The highest incidence for hospitalization of paediatric eye injury occurred in March and May, with the least admissions occurring in February. Contusions (48.3%) were the most common type of injury. Open globe injuries occurred in 35.9% of cases. Chemical burns were the least common type of injury. The admission period ranged from 1–58 days. The median hospitalization period was five days (95% CI 4.5, 6.0).
Conclusion: Paediatric ocular injury can be age specific. Contusion was the most common ocular injury and males were more likely to be hospitalized than females. Epidemiological information is important in determining the burden of ocular disease in the population. It is also essential in planning improvement in health services and patient education for prevention of serious eye injuries.