Party Foam-Induced Eye Injuries and the Power of Media Intervention

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Abstract

Purpose:

To describe the clinical features and treatment outcome of eye injuries sustained as a result of contact with artificial snow spray (“party foam”/“silly string”) during 2 consecutive Israeli Independence Day celebrations.

Design:

Retrospective, multicenter, consecutive case series.

Setting:

Institutional.

Intervention/Study Population:

All patients who presented to 2 ophthalmology emergency services in 2007 and in 2008 with eye injury caused by contact with the foam. The medical records of the foam-induced eye injury cases were retrieved and analyzed. Data on injury type, comprehensive ophthalmic examination, and time to resolution were collected and analyzed.

Main Outcome Measures:

The assessed variables included the number of cases per year, injury type, visual acuity, treatment, and outcome.

Results:

A total of 96 patients (135 eyes) had suffered from foam-induced ocular chemical injuries during the 2 celebrations. Sex and laterality were evenly distributed in the study population. The mean ± SD age was 12.8 ± 2.14 years (range, 7–17 years). All patients suffered from chemical conjunctivitis (100%) and superficial punctate keratopathy (79%), corneal erosion (27%), and conjunctival erosion (5%). More patients were seen during 2007 compared with 2008 [85 (117 eyes) and 11 (18 eyes), respectively]. This reduction was directly attributable to increased public awareness because of media coverage (newspapers, radio, and national TV).

Conclusions:

Sprayed foam used in parties and public celebrations can cause mild-to-severe ocular surface injuries. Increased public awareness will inevitably reduce the use of this dangerous agent, but warnings need to be repeated yearly in the national media.

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