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What is Ocular Trauma ?

Ocular trauma, once described as the 'neglected disorder'1, has recently been highlighted as a major cause of visual morbidity. Annually, over 2.5 million Americans suffer an eye injury, and globally more than half a million blinding injuries occur every year. World-wide, there are approximately 1.6 million people blind from eye injuries, 2.3 million bilaterally visually impaired and 19 million with unilateral visual loss; this being the commonest cause of unilateral blindness today.2 The age distribution for the occurrence of serious ocular trauma is bi-modal, with the maximum incidence in young adults and a second peak in the elderly.3,4 Both hospital and population based studies indicate a large preponderance of injuries affecting males.5,6,7 So, in addition to the impact on affected individuals there are profound social implications regarding the lost productivity by young men and requirement of caring facilities and rehabilitation for the elderly. The overall financial costs can only be an estimate but direct and indirect costs taken together are known to run into hundreds of millions of dollars annually.8 Developing countries carry the largest burden, yet are the least able to afford the costs.9,10

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