Ocular Complications of Facial Burns in the Pediatric Population

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Burn Care & Research



Pediatric burns commonly involve the face and periocular areas, with a risk of impairing vision. The aim of this study is to characterize ocular injuries in burn patients and identify the patients at most risk of ocular complications.


This study is a retrospective review within a single academic, urban pediatric burn center. All burn patients under 18 years of age admitted from January 2010 to December 2020 with periorbital or ocular involvement were included. Variables analyzed included patient demographics, burn characteristics, presence of ophthalmology consultation, ocular exam findings, follow up time period, and early and late ocular complications.


In the study period, 2,781 patients were admitted to our burn center, 300 of whom had facial burns involving the eyes and/or eyelids. Etiologies of burn injuries were as follows: 112 (37.5%) scald, 80 (26.8%) flame, 35 (11.7%) contact, 31 (10.4%) chemical, 28 (9.4%) grease, and 13 (4.3%) friction. Overall, 70.9% of patients with ocular burns received an ophthalmology consult. Of these patients, 61.5% had periorbital swelling and 39.8% had corneal injuries. Of the 207 patients who were followed as inpatients by ophthalmology, only 61 (29.5%) presented for a follow-up visit, as recommended, 6 of which had serious ocular sequelae including ectropion, entropion, symblepharon, and corneal decompensation, and 4 of whom had a firework-related injury.


While burns involving the ocular surface and eyelid margins are infrequent overall, they can lead to long-term sequelae. Ophthalmology consultation is critical, particularly in the setting of chemical and firework-related injury. As ocular and periocular burns can cause immediate as well as delayed sequelae, ophthalmologic evaluation is a key component of assessment.




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The American Burn Association Annual Meeting, Dallas, TX May 16-19 2023.