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Airbag leaves canvas imprint on teen's eye

Fluorescein staining of the eye under a blue light shows the imprint of a canvas airbag on the patient's eye. Credit: The New England Journal of Medicine ©2014.

Fluorescein staining of the eye under a blue light shows the imprint of a canvas airbag on the patient's eye. Credit: The New England Journal of Medicine ©2014.


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Monday, July 7, 2014, 3:48 - A seventeen year-old girl was left with the canvas imprint of an airbag on her eye following a car crash in Michigan.

Prior to the accident, her visual acuity was measured as 20/20 in the right eye and 20/25 in the left.

The girl, who was a passenger in the car, was wearing a seatbelt when her vehicle was in was rear-ended. She sustained no other injuries and none of the other occupants involved were hurt.

Shortly after the crash she was brought to the emergency room complaining of blurred vision and the sensation of foreign objects in both eyes.


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"When we looked at her under a magnified view, we could see that there was this very unusual imprint on the surface of the cornea … a rather dramatic-looking picture of the imprint of the nylon mesh pattern of the airbag cover," Dr. Jonathan Trobe, an ophthalmologist at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center, told Live Science.

"It's quite interesting to see that the airbag deployed so quickly that she didn't have time to close her eyes," he added.

While airbags can save lives, doctors say that they commonly cause eye injuries -- but they're quick to add that most are mild in nature and far better than the alternative of not having an airbag.

Within 24 hours, the abrasions on the patient's eyes had healed and her vision was completely restored within two weeks, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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