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Abstract

Purpose: Ophthalmic injuries in female victims of domestic abuse are not uncommon but are often underreported. The purpose of this study is to examine the occurrence of ophthalmic injuries in such battered women and note the pattern of injuries. We also aim to raise awareness among ophthalmologists that these injuries are more common than one might think and frequently go undetected.

Study design: Prospective cohort study.

Methods: A prospective cohort study of all ophthalmic injuries in female victims of domestic abuse was conducted in Geta Eye Hospital (Dhangadhi, Nepal) from April 2021 to September 2021 for a period of 6 months. Visual acuity, age, level of education, mechanism of trauma, ophthalmic findings, and Ocular Trauma Score were documented. Other physical injuries, past history of abuse, and denial of gender-based violence were also included. The data were collected via a questionnaire and exported to an Excel sheet. Analysis was performed using mean and standard deviation.

Results: The study included a total of 15 women with ages ranging from 22 to 58 years. Ocular findings of subconjunctival haemorrhage and ecchymosis were present in all cases; 1 case had lens dislocation, lid laceration was present in 1 case, commotio retinae, and hyphaema were present in 2 cases each. The ocular trauma score was 100 in 66.7 % cases. Sixty percent of the victims had a lower level of education than their male partners. History of similar abuse was present in 4 cases (26.7%). The abuser was under the influence of alcohol in 6 cases (40%).

Conclusion: Domestic violence can lead to serious ocular injuries. Considering that ophthalmologists frequently encounter such cases as primary caregivers, it is imperative to uphold a heightened level of vigilance. Our research findings indicate the recurrence of an abusive past, suggesting that ophthalmologists cannot only
address eye injuries but also guide individuals toward a safer life.