Airbag Deployment–Related Eye Injuries

The authors studied the correlation between airbag deployment and eye injuries using 2 different data sets. The registry of the Finnish Road Accident (FRA) Investigation Teams was analyzed to study severe head- and eyewear-related injuries. All fatal passenger car or van accidents that occurred during the years 2009–2012 (4 years) were included (n = 734). Cases in which the driver's front airbag was deployed were subjected to analysis (n = 409). To determine the proportion of minor, potentially airbag-related eye injuries, the results were compared to the data for all new eye injury patients (n = 1,151) recorded at the Emergency Clinic of the Helsinki University Eye Hospital (HUEH) during one year, from May 1, 2011, to April 30, 2012. In the FRA data set, the unbelted drivers showed a significantly higher risk of death (odds ratio [OR] = 5.89, 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.33–10.9, P = 2.6E-12) or of sustaining head injuries (OR = 2.50, 95% CI, 1.59–3.97, P = 3.8E-5). Only 4 of the 1,151 HUEH patients were involved in a passenger car accident. In one of the crashes, the airbag operated, and the belted driver received 2 sutured eye lid wounds and showed conjunctival sugillation. No permanent eye injuries were recorded during the follow-up. The calculated annual airbag-related eye injury incidence was less than 1/1,000,000 people, 4/100,000 accidents, and 4/10,000 injured occupants. Airbag-related eye injuries occurred very rarely in car accidents in cases where the occupant survived and the restraint system was appropriately used. Spectacle use did not appear to increase the risk of eye injury in restrained occupants.


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  • Accession Number: 01639408
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 28 2017 9:28AM