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Rigid Eye Shields: A Critical Gap in the Individual First Aid Kit

Fall 2013

Brunstetter T, Diaz GY, Wasner C, Hart S, Burrows S. 13(3). 26 - 28. (Journal Article)


From 5% to 22% of all U.S. Department of Defense combat casualties between 2001 and 2010 suffered some form of ocular trauma. Ocular injuries have an inordinately dramatic impact on return to duty, retention, and reintegration; only 25% of warfighters with severe ocular trauma return to duty. After a traumatic ocular event, the likelihood of saving an eye and preserving vision depends on several factors, especially the treatment quality at the point of injury. Every major organization associated with combat casualty care (e.g., the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care, and the Department of Defense/VA Vision Center of Excellence) emphasizes the importance of placing a rigid eye shield on known/suspected eye injuries at point of injury. On the battlefield, there is no better way to protect an injured eye from further damage than with an eye shield, but shields are not readily available in individual first aid kits. Therefore, it is highly recommended that each Service rapidly integrate at least one rigid eye shield into every individual first aid kit, making them immediately available to every warfighter.

Keywords: rigid eye shield; ocular trauma; ballistic eye protection; eye injuries; open globe injuries; first aid kit

PMID: 24048984

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