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Do patients presenting to accident and emergency departments with the sensation of a foreign body in the eye (gritty eye) have significant ocular disease?
  1. D G Jayamanne
  1. Department of Ophthalmology, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK.


    A total of 1155 consecutive patients selected on symptomatology alone who presented to an ophthalmic accident and emergency (A&E) department over a period of 3 months from a total patient population of 3522 were assessed. The study showed that about 96% of the patients reporting a sensation of a foreign body in their eye had no serious ocular disease. Most patients had a superficial mechanical injury or minor microbial infection. Steroid drugs were prescribed to only 2.1% of the patients. Topical steroid treatment was contraindicated in 0.35% of the patients. A low rate of morbidity was noted, suggesting that these patients could have been treated adequately in a general A&E department rather than an ophthalmic department.

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