Importance: Epidemiological data on visually significant ocular trauma in the Top End of the Northern Territory.
Background: Our main objective is to determine whether Indigenous patients are disproportionately affected by visually significant ocular trauma as compared to non-Indigenous patients.
Design: This was a retrospective audit at the Royal Darwin Hospital in the Top End of the Northern Territory during January 2013 to June 2015.
Participants: A total of 104 ocular trauma patients were included; 43 were Indigenous and 61 were non-Indigenous.
Methods: Medical records of patients with ocular trauma between January 2013 and June 2015 (except simple, non-penetrating corneal foreign bodies and abrasions) were reviewed. Vision loss was defined by visual acuity: mild ≥6/18, moderate 6/18-6/60, severe ≤6/60 following World Health Organization standards.
Main Outcome Measures: The study included the incidence of ocular trauma patients by ethnicity (Indigenous vs non-Indigenous). Our secondary outcome included vision loss, mechanism of injury, open vs closed injury, age, remoteness and alcohol involvement.
Results: A total of 104 patient charts were reviewed; 43 (41%) were Indigenous and 61 (59%) were non-Indigenous. Alleged assault was the greatest contributor to ocular trauma in both groups (74% in Indigenous vs 39% non-Indigenous). Severe vision loss was more prevalent in the Indigenous vs non-Indigenous patients (30% vs 16%).
Conclusions and Relevance: Indigenous patients were disproportionately affected by visually significant ocular trauma compared to non-Indigenous patients. This research provides important data on ocular trauma in the Northern Territory. Further prevention strategies are needed to reduce vision loss in this population.