Comparing the Management of Eye Injuries by Coalition Military Surgeons during the Iraq and Afghanistan Conflicts.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

PURPOSE: To compare incidences, ocular injury types, and treatment performed on United States and United Kingdom military service members and host nation civilians within the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts to inform future military surgical training requirements and military medical planning. The United States routinely deployed ophthalmologists, whereas the United Kingdom did not. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study of the United States and United Kingdom military Joint Theatre Trauma Registries. PARTICIPANTS: All patients with eye injuries treated at a deployed Military Treatment Facility between March 2003 and October 2011. METHODS: An adjusted multiple logistic regression model was performed using enucleation or evisceration and primary open-globe repair as dependent variables and casualty nationality, location, and the presence of an ophthalmic surgeon as independent variables. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Incidence of eye removal (enucleation or evisceration) or primary repair for open globe injury. RESULTS: Five thousand seven hundred nineteen of 67 586 (8%) survivors or those who died of wounds were recorded to have sustained eye injuries. The most common eye injuries were open-globe injury without intraocular foreign body (3201/5719 [56%]). Adnexal injuries (eyelid lacerations and damage to lacrimal apparatus) were recorded in 1265 of 5719 patients (22%). The odds of undergoing evisceration or enucleation for open-globe injury was highest in host nation civilians (odds ratio [OR], 9.23; P < 0.001), but there was no evidence of a difference between United States and United Kingdom military service member casualties (P = 0.38). The presence of an ophthalmic surgeon (OR, 16.3; P < 0.001) significantly affected the odds of eye removal. CONCLUSIONS: Eye injuries were more likely to have been treated definitively in United States Medical Treatment Facilities (MTFs), reflecting the absence of ophthalmologists in most deployed United Kingdom MTFs. The Iraq and Afghan conflicts were notable for coalition air dominance; the shape of future conflicts may mandate delays in evacuation, which may affect visual outcomes negatively, particularly if primary repair of patients with open-globe injuries is delayed. This study provides evidence to support the maintenance of specialist ophthalmic surgical competencies in deployed coalition MTFs for future conflicts.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Breeze, J; Blanch, RJ; Mazzoli, R; DuBose, J; Bowley, DM; Powers, DB

Published Date

  • April 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 127 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 458 - 466

PubMed ID

  • 31767434

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1549-4713

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.ophtha.2019.10.014


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States