Pediatric eye diseases are common, occurring in 2-5% of children. While we know that pediatric eye diseases can lead to poor vision and loss of depth perception, there is uncertainty as to the consequences of this on the risk of physical injuries in children. We therefore are unable to counsel parents on strategies to protect children or create awareness/intervention campaigns targeted to the most at-risk groups. Given that physical injuries are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children in the United States, unintentional injuries are a significant public health priority that account for an estimated that 9.2 million annual visit to the Emergency Department and $20 billion in medical cost annually. Identifying risk factors that would allow for targeted prevention measures could reduce these injuries and costs. The proposed series of studies will use epidemiological and statistical tools to determine how eye diseases affect the risk of physical injuries in children and how strabismus surgery may alter this risk in patients with strabismus. Taken together, these data can be used to fuel future research focusing on risk-reducing interventions for children identified to be at risk. The results will inform policy makers, clinicians and parents regarding the patients that may benefit most from risk factor modification to prevent comorbidities associated with eye diseases in children. The results will also provide data regarding the utility of strabismus surgery in preventing physical injuries. In future work, clinical interventions can be developed to reduce the risk of injuries (such as home visits, therapies, and educational campaigns) that are most highly associated with eye disease in the patients who appear to be the most at risk.

Public Health Relevance

Eye diseases, which are known to predispose adults to various systemic comorbidities, are common in children, occurring in 2-5% of American children. Since we do not know how these disorders affect systemic risks in children, we will study which types of pediatric eye diseases are most highly associated with systemic comorbidities such as physical injuries, and which physical injuries are most common; furthermore, we will also evaluate the role of strabismus surgery in decreasing injury risk in those patients with strabismus. These data will inform us as to which patient populations and systemic comorbidity types should be targeted for public awareness and intervention campaigns, which will likely follow as the next step in this line of investigation.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZEY1)
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Everett, Donald F
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University of California Los Angeles
Schools of Medicine
Los Angeles
United States
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