Eye injury and the air bag

Academic Article


  • Although traffic-related mortality and morbidity figures have improved in recent years in the United States, motor vehicle crash remains a leading source of death and injury, requiring additional efforts to reduce its toll. The rationale for equipping passenger vehicles with air bags was to introduce a mechanical cushion between occupants and the car's hard interior surfaces. Although air bags have proven to be effective in saving lives and preventing injuries, a growing number of reports indicate that the air bag is also a potential source of ocular trauma. This article analyzes 24 eye injuries alleged to be air bag related. The posterior segment was injured in less than half of cases, and only one eye sustained severe visual impairment. Although such reports may help to improve air bag design, the air bag should remain 'innocent until proven guilty.' We report that in motor vehical crashes, the rate of ocular trauma increases 2.5 times if the car is not air bag- equipped. In contrast to injuries seen in vehicles without air bags, eye trauma sustained in vehicles with air bags is typically closed globe.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kuhn F; Morris R; Witherspoon CD
  • Start Page

  • 38
  • End Page

  • 44
  • Volume

  • 6
  • Issue

  • 3