Volume 44 Number 7 2007
Pages 929 — 936

Abstract - Visual function in patients of a polytrauma rehabilitation center: A descriptive study

Gregory L. Goodrich, PhD;1* Jennine Kirby, OD;1 Glenn Cockerham, MD;2-3 Shanida P. Ingalla, OD;2 Henry L. Lew, MD, PhD3-4

1Psychology Service and Western Blind Rehabilitation Center and 2Ophthalmology Service, Department of Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS), Palo Alto, CA; 3Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA; 4Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service, VAPAHCS, Palo Alto, CA

Abstract — Little is known about the visual function deficits associated with polytrauma injury. In this retrospective descriptive study, we examined the records of a clinic established to assess visual function in patients experiencing deployment-related polytrauma. We describe the clinical findings and present a vision examination protocol that may be useful for screening polytrauma patients in other settings. Data from our sample suggested that self-reported vision complaints were common (74%) and confirmed that visual impairment occurred in 38% of all cases. When examining the mechanism of injury, we found that polytrauma due to blast injuries appeared to more than double the risk of visual impairment compared with all other polytrauma causes (i.e., motor vehicle accidents, gunshot and/or shrapnel, assault, falls, or anoxia). The rate of visual impairment in blast-related injury was 52% compared with 20% for all other sources of injury. Visual complaints and impairments were common in the polytrauma patients studied. This finding suggests that comprehensive eye examinations should be routinely administered, particularly when the mechanism of injury involves a blast.

Key words: adult, blast injury, brain injury, mechanism of injury, ocular refraction, polytrauma, rehabilitation, vision, visual impairment, visual perception.

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