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Bottle Rockets Can Cause Serious Eye Injuries in Kids

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Bottle rockets can cause serious eye injuries to children that can lead to permanent vision loss, a new study warns.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., detail the cases of eight boys and two girls, aged 18 or younger, who suffered eye injuries caused by bottle rockets between 2006 and 2009.

Eight of the patients were injured while launching bottle rockets and two were bystanders. None of them was wearing eye protection when they suffered their injury, according to the report.

The 11 eyes injured among the 10 patients included: defects in the epithelium lining the cornea (seven eyes); bleeding in the front of the eye (six eyes); traumatic inflammation of the iris (two eyes); a tear of the iris (four eyes); cataract (four eyes); retinal dialysis or a type of retinal tear (one eye); and bleeding into the eye's vitreous fluid (two eyes).

Eight eyes required initial treatments such as surgical removal of the lens or removal of damaged corneal tissue. Three patients required additional treatment, including muscle surgery and placement of a new lens, the investigators found.

In recent follow-ups conducted on 10 of the eyes, visual acuity was 20/30 or better in four eyes and 20/200 or worse in six eyes. The most common cause of permanent vision problems was damage to the part of the retina responsible for central vision (maculopathy).

The study findings were released online in advance of publication in the May print issue of the journal Archives of Ophthalmology.

"This study demonstrates that bottle rockets can cause significant ocular injury in children and adolescents and, in turn, cause their parents and themselves to incur expenses through emergency department visits, surgical interventions and days missed from school and work," study author Mehnaz Kahn and colleagues wrote in a journal news release.

"If children, adolescents and parents choose to launch bottle rockets, it is important for parents not only to supervise children and adolescents in the vicinity of bottle rockets but also to ensure that protective eyewear is being used," the researchers concluded.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about fireworks-related injuries.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Jan. 10, 2011

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