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Ocular injuries cause significant burden to deployed US service members

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Ocular injuries among deployed United States service members have resulted in a significant burden, according to a study that found that despite a relatively low percentage of patients experiencing permanent ocular injuries, permanent disability accounted for most of the total disability adjusted life years (DALYs).

The retrospective observational cohort study conducted on United States service members deployed in combat zones from 2001 to 2020, identified 17,555 patients who suffered ocular injuries resulting in DALYs, with a total of 11,214 DALYs recorded. On average, each included patient accounted for 0.64 DALYs, translating to 20.6 DALYs per 10,000 US service members annually.

Severe impairment of distance vision (77.9%) and blindness (10.6%) emerged as the primary contributors to DALYs.

Despite only 9.3% of patients experiencing permanent ocular injuries, permanent disability represented 99.5% of the total DALYs. The average yearly incidence rate of ocular injury stood at 32.0 cases per 10,000 US service members. Foreign body injuries were the most frequent (2754 occurrences), followed by abrasions (2419 occurrences) and multiple injury types (1429 occurrences). The highest DALYs were associated with multiple injury types (2485 DALYs), followed by abrasions (725 DALYs) and foreign body injuries (461 DALYs).

Reference
Travor MD, Levine ES, Catomeris AJ, et al. Disability-Adjusted Life Years due to Ocular Injury Among Deployed Service Members, 2001-2020. Ophthalmology. 2023;S0161-6420(23)00863-1. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2023.11.023. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38008289.

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