Assessment of acute ocular trauma in rabbits following sublethal primary blast exposure




Jones, Kirstin R.

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The purpose of this study is to determine whether clinically significant ocular trauma can be induced by a survivable isolated primary blast using a live animal model. Both eyes of eighteen blast-exposed and five control Dutch Belted rabbits were exposed to various overpressure levels in a large-scale shock tube, and subjected to pre- and post-blast assessments by slit lamp, fundus imaging, ultrasound biomicroscopy, B-scan ultrasound, corneal confocal (immediate and 48-hours post), and retinal ocular coherence (immediate only) tomography. Linear regressions were applied to detect whether changes in the eye were significantly correlated with blast overpressure specific impulse. Normalized thicknesses of the cornea and inner retinal layers increased significantly with specific impulse immediately and 48 hours after blast exposure, providing new in vivo evidence of tissue damage due to primary blast (cornea pre- versus immediate post-blast: p=0.0011 and 48-hours post-blast: p=0.0014; retina p=0.00017). Survivable primary blast overpressure caused significant ocular damage in actively perfused living eyes. Clinically significant changes in corneal thickness arose immediately and were sustained through 48 hours, suggesting possible disruption of endothelial function.


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Primary blasts, Trauma, Cornea thickness



Biomedical Engineering