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Central visual loss following a motor vehicle accident: traumatic airbag maculopathy

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Clinical record

A 62-year-old woman was the driver of a car travelling at 60 km per hour when it collided with a stationary truck with subsequent airbag deployment. She wore no spectacles and her seatbelt was fastened at the time of the accident. She was initially assessed in the emergency department (ED) and subsequently discharged. Four days after the incident, she was referred by her general practitioner to the ED as she had persistent blurred central vision. The patient did not report any neurological symptoms. Her past ocular history included blunt trauma to the right eye from a snowball as a teenager.

Her best corrected visual acuity was 6/15 in the right eye and 6/24 in the left eye. No acute anterior segment pathology was present. Dilated fundus examination revealed several small intraretinal haemorrhages, but no retinal tears were found. A spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) scan showed subretinal fluid as well as hyper-reflective material at the fovea bilaterally (right more so than left).

Subsequent macular SD-OCT scans demonstrated bilateral resolution of the subretinal fluid over a period of 3 months with associated improvement of her vision to 6/12 in each eye (Box).

Our literature review on the PubMed database using the keywords airbag, trauma, macular…