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A Journal on Ophthalmology
Minerva Oftalmologica 2008 September;50(3):83-8
A one-year epidemiological prospective survey of childhood emergency eye conditions
Zaffanello M., Zamboni G., Visentin S., Brugnara M., Tomazzoli L.
1 Department of Mother-Child and Biology-Genetics Section of Pediatrics University of Verona, Italy
2 Section of Pediatric Ophthalmology University of Verona, Italy
Aim. A one-year prospective study was carried out between January and December 2005. The magnitude and patterns of ocular problems were reviewed in all children who were seen at the emergency department in a city in north-east Italy during this period.
Methods. The total records reviewed concerned 540 children under the age of 15 yrs. Patients’ data inserted into the database allowed us to obtain information about patterns of ophthalmic problems referred to the emergency department and subsequently evaluated by an ophthalmologist.
Results. Pediatric patients represented 12.9% (males 62.4%, females 37.7%) of the total number of patients seen at the emergency department of the hospital. The percentage of children having eye problems was 4.1% of total children seen. Infectious and inflammatory eye diseases were the most frequent causes (49%). Eye injuries and trauma represented the second cause for admission to the department (44.6%). Most children came to the ER in the afternoon (55.9%), followed by morning (34.5%) and night (9.6%).
Conclusion. The presence of a pediatric ophthalmologist to diagnose conditions that could threaten a child’s health and ocular function is very important, as well as a more frequent use of general practitioners, pediatricians or outpatient eye specialists to handle less serious and non urgent cases.