Aim This paper analyses all ophthalmic attendances to a deployed emergency department (ED) in Iraq to identify patterns of injury to optimise patient care, plan equipment tables for future operations and emphasise need for prevention of ocular morbidity.
Methods The Academic Department of Military Emergency Medicine at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine in Birmingham maintains an electronic database with details on all attendances to the emergency departments deployed on Operations. This Operational Emergency Department Attendance Register (OpEDAR) was searched for all patients with medical classification of Ophthalmology over a 52 month period between 1 March 2003 and 30 June 2007.
Results During this period 30,195 patients were seen in the ED on Operation Telic and are available for analysis. Patients with ophthalmic complaints account for 5.3% of all presentations to the ED and rank as the 7th most common reason for attendance.
Conclusion This paper identifies patterns of injury to enable future planning of equipment tables and identifies the need for prevention of injury wherever possible. Implications on days lost from full active duty for the injured can be extrapolated. More data needs to be collated on the use of eye protection and the relevance of contact lenses in deployed personnel with eye injuries.
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