Different causes of referral to ophthalmology emergency room
Background: Eye-related complaints compose approximately 1-6% of complaints of patients referring to general emergency ward around the world. Eye injuries are the most common cause of referral to eye emergency ward. To understand the impact of eye injuries in Iran and to plan preventive strategies, it is important to understand the complete magnitude of the problem with regard to true population-based data and standard reproducible definitions. Aim: The main goal of this study was to identify the major causes of referrals to eye emergency ward in patients with eye-related complaints in an eye referral Hospital in Iran. Settings and Design: In a cross-sectional study, 3150 patients who referred to Farabi Hospital emergency ward, Tehran, Iran, from January to December 2007 were included in the study and their detailed information were recorded. Materials and Methods: The patients' demographic data, medical history and final diagnosis were recorded in a questionnaire. Results: The mean age of patients was 33.2±16.8 years and 2380 patients (75.6%) were males. While 299 patients (9.5%) were referred for non-urgent reasons, work-related injuries were the most common cause of referral (955 patients; 30.3%). In patients referred due to trauma (1950 patients), work-related injuries occurred in 955 patients (49%) and occurred accidentally (by chance) in 819 patients (42%). The majority of patients referred with traumatic injuries were males (1708 patients; 87.6% versus 242 patients; 12.4%). The most common etiologies of eye trauma (1950 patients) were metal filings (814 patients; 41.8%), blunt trauma (338 patients; 17.3%), fireworks (236 patients; 12.1%) and sharp objects (222 patients; 11.4%). Globe injury was diagnosed in 1865 patients (95.7%) of trauma cases. In patients referred due to non-traumatic reason (1200 patients), eye infection occurred in 482 patients (40.2%) and 299 patients (24.9%) were referred for non-urgent reasons. There was little difference between the frequency of non-trauma-related problems among genders (672 male patients; 56% versus 528 female patients; 44%). Conclusions: This study identified multiple risk factors whose presence significantly increases severity of an eye injury. Male gender, youth and unprotected eyes during high-risk activities such as sports and certain jobs are risk factors for eye injuries. In patients referred due to non-traumatic reasons, males and females are similar. Considerable proportion of non-trauma-related problems was due to eye infection, that one of the most important reasons may be connected to the increasing use of contact lenses in our target population. Thereupon, we need for further educative and preventive interventions at the level of general population.