Outcomes for Combat Ocular Trauma

Research Paper Title

Lateral Canthotomy and Cantholysis in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom: 2001-2011.


To describe outcomes and associated ocular injuries of lateral canthotomy and cantholysis (LCC) as performed in combat ocular trauma.


Data from the Walter Reed Ocular Trauma Database of patients requiring LCC during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom was reviewed as a retrospective cohort. Primary outcome measures included final visual acuity (VA) and Ocular Trauma Score. Secondary outcome measures were associated injuries and timing of surgery.


Thirty-six LCCs were recorded on a total of 890 eyes (4.04 %) in the Walter Reed Ocular Trauma Database. Eighteen out of 36 eyes (50.00%) had a final VA of the affected eye of 20/200 or worse vision. From the initial available VA measured either at the time of injury or at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 13 eyes (40.63%) had no change in VA, 15 eyes (46.88%) had improvement, and 4 (12.5%) had a decrease in VA (n = 32, data unavailable for 4 eyes). Ocular Trauma score 0-65 was noted in 14 (38.9%) and 66-100 (61.1%). Retinal detachment (6, 16.67%), optic nerve injuries (7, 19.44%), orbital fractures (20, 55.56%), and retrobulbar hematoma (25, 69.44%) were commonly associated injuries. Of the 36 LCC, 18 (50.00%) were performed as the first surgery performed at the combat support hospital, 13 (36.11%) as the second, 4 (11.11%) as the third, and 1 (2.78%) as the fourth.


The largest subgroup of patients had an improvement in VA associated with performance of LCC; however, half of patients remained with a final VA of equal to or worse than 20/200 due to severe ocular trauma.


Jaksha, A.F., Justin, G.A., Davies, B.W., Ryan, D.S., Weichel, E.D. & Colyer, M.H. (2018) Lateral Canthotomy and Cantholysis in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom: 2001-2011. Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. doi: 10.1097/IOP.0000000000001168. [Epub ahead of print].


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