Combat ocular trauma and systemic injury

Eric D. Weichel*, Marcus H. Colyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Purpose of review: To review the recent literature regarding combat ocular trauma during hostilities in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, describe the classification of combat ocular trauma, and offer strategies that may assist in the management of eye injuries. Recent findings Several recent publications have highlighted features of combat ocular trauma from Operation Iraqi Freedom. The most common cause of today's combat ocular injuries is unconventional fragmentary munitions causing significant blast injuries. These explosive munitions cause high rates of concomitant nonocular injuries such as traumatic brain injury, amputation, and other organ injuries. The most frequent ocular injuries include open-globe and adnexal lacerations. The extreme severity of combat-related open-globe injuries leads to high rates of primary enucleation and retained intraocular foreign bodies. Visual outcomes of intraocular foreign body injuries are similar to other series despite delayed removal, and no cases of endophthalmitis have occurred. Despite these advances, however, significant vision loss persists in cases of perforating globe injuries as well as open and closed-globe trauma involving the posterior segment. Summary This review summarizes the recent literature describing ocular and systemic injuries sustained during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. An emphasis on classification of ocular injuries as well as a discussion of main outcome measures and complications is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-525
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Ophthalmology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Closed-globe injury
  • Combat ocular trauma
  • Enucleation
  • Intraocular foreign body
  • Open-globe injury
  • Traumatic brain injury


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