Airbags and bilateral eye injury: Five case reports and a review of the literature

William B. Lee, Henry S. O'Halloran, P. Andrew Pearson, Harsha A. Sen, Syamala H.K. Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


We report five cases of bilateral eye injuries from airbag deployment in motor vehicle crashes and review the world's literature on ocular injuries associated with airbags. The cases in the literature were identified by cross-referencing Medline searches from airbags and ocular injuries. Additional cases were identified after review of references from each article in the search. An additional 89 cases from the literature were identified and are included for discussion. Patients were treated individually in a noncontrolled, nonrandomized fashion according to the nature of each injury with regular follow-up examinations in clinic. Of the 94 cases studied, 24 (27%) were bilateral eye injuries, and 15 (16%) patients were wearing spectacles at the time of the accident. The most common injuries included corneal abrasions, eyelid trauma, and hyphemas. Outcomes ranged from complete resolution of symptoms and return of normal visual acuity to primary enucleation. This report describes the wide spectrum of eye injuries that may occur after airbag deployment. We suggest a management plan for the evaluation and treatment of the ocular complications of airbag-related trauma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-134
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Sponsored by an unrestricted grant to the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, from Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc.


  • Airbags
  • Alkali burns
  • Bilateral
  • Eye injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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