Paediatric eye injuries during a COVID-19 pandemic lockdown

Maria Franchina, Magda Blaszkowska, Joel Lewis, Alice Johnson, Antony Clark, Geoffrey Lam, David A. Mackey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Clinical relevance: Eye injuries, both accidental and non-accidental, are a significant cause of long-term visual impairment in children. An understanding of when and how such injuries occur is key to development of adequate prevention strategies. Background: To evaluate accidental and non-accidental eye injuries in children presenting to the major tertiary emergency department and outpatient ophthalmology clinic in Western Australia during the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown and to determine whether the frequency or nature of these injuries differed from pre-pandemic presentations. Methods: Retrospective review of the medical records of paediatric patients presenting to the emergency department and specialist ophthalmology clinic with an ocular injury and those presenting to the hospital Child Protection Unit with physical injuries during March-August 2020 and the same period in 2019. Results: There was no significant difference in the total number of accidental eye injury presentations during the lockdown period despite a significant decrease in emergency department attendance overall. Closed-globe injuries were the most common accidental eye injury presentation during lockdown (70/110, 64%), followed by adnexal injuries (39/110, 35%) and open-globe injuries (1/110, 1%). In contrast, referrals to the hospital Child Protection Unit for suspicious injuries declined during lockdown. Although eye injury presentations have changed in other parts of the world since the start of the pandemic, during COVID-19 lockdown in Western Australia, accidental paediatric ocular and adnexal trauma sustained at home continues to be a significant cause for hospital attendance. Public education regarding in-home eye injury prevention must be ongoing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-641
Number of pages5
JournalClinical and Experimental Optometry
Issue number6
Early online date17 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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