Comm Eye Health Vol. 14 No. 38 2001 pp 29. Published online 01 June 2001.

Letters to the editor. Car seat belts

Mahfouth A Bamashmus FRCSEd FRCOphth

Ibn Al-Haitham Clinic, University of Science & Technology Sana'a, Yemen

Ahmed Al-Shabooti, MD

Head of Department, Al-Thawra Hospital, Sana'a, Yemen

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Dear Editor

We read the letter by Margreet Hogeweg (J Comm Eye Health 2000; 13: 62) and we agree that one of the main causes of corneal perforation and ruptured globe is road traffic accident. In Yemen, ocular trauma is a significant cause of unilateral blindness.

In a recent retrospective study performed in Al-Thawra Hospital in Sana’a, Yemen we found that road traffic accident accounted for 42% of all eye injuries that required surgical intervention. Perforating injuries (ruptured globe with iris prolapse) were the most common ocular trauma treated and accounted for 67.8%.

Most patients were in the first three decades of life and were male; 82.8% of the patients were under 30 years of age. Young males were found to run a higher risk of ocular accidents, especially from road traffic accidents, gunfire and bomb explosions.

Roads are not safe in Yemen because driving licence regulations are not enforced. We don’t have any regulations to wear car seat belts and many people drive without a driving licence. Unfortunately, children under the age of 16 years old can drive cars.

Health education and safety strategies should consider targeting the road traffic accidents in Yemen for the prevention of these serious eye injuries. Wearing seatbelts has to be introduced as a law, similar to our neighbouring countries Saudi Arabia and Egypt.