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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 130-137

Lightning injuries of the posterior segment of the eye

Shri Bhagwan Mahavir Vitreoretinal Services, Sankara Nethralaya, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ekta Rishi
Shri Bhagwan Mahavir Vitreoretinal Services, Sankara Nethralaya, 18, College Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai - 600 006, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/tjo.tjo_27_20

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Lightning causes serious injuries and deaths worldwide every year. Ophthalmic injuries due to lightning are due to direct or indirect transmission of electric current, resistance-induced heat, and heat-induced shock wave. PubMed search of articles related to posterior segment injuries caused by lightning using keywords (lightning injury, ophthalmic manifestations, ocular injuries, and posterior segment) was conducted, and 19 case reports in 17 articles including 29 eyes with lightning injury to the posterior segment of the eye from 1984 to 2019 were reviewed. The majority of case reports (n = 10, 53%) were from North America. Eleven patients (58%) were in the age group of 10–30 years. Most patients (n = 10, 53%) had bilateral injury. The macula was the most common site of involvement with retinal pigment epithelial changes (n = 14, 48%) being the most common manifestation. A variety of other retinal, vitreous, and electrophysiological abnormalities have also been reported. We conclude that although lightning injuries are usually mild injuries, with vision remaining, either stable or showing some improvement in the majority of cases, severe visual loss due to optic atrophy and maculopathy may occur in long term.

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