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Intimate partner violence in ophthalmology: a global call to action

Cohen, Ali, R.a; Renner, Lynette, M.b; Shriver, Erin, M.c

Current Opinion in Ophthalmology: September 2017 - Volume 28 - Issue 5 - p 534–538
doi: 10.1097/ICU.0000000000000397

Purpose of review Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Despite increasing public awareness of IPV, little information is available regarding the prevalence, associated injury patterns, and impact of IPV as a mechanism of ocular and orbital trauma. The purpose of this review is to summarize the literature regarding the impact of IPV in ophthalmology and provide team members with guidance on appropriate practices for screening and referral.

Recent findings Data from 48 population-based studies estimates that the lifetime prevalence of IPV ranges from 10 to 69% among women internationally. Head, neck, or facial trauma is 7.5 times more likely in female patients presenting to the emergency department than female patients with other injury patterns. Forty-five percent of injuries acquired from IPV involve the eyes. IPV is the third leading cause of orbital fractures and traumatic ocular injuries from IPV tend to be severe in nature with a large percent of women sustaining scleral rupture.

Summary The high prevalence of IPV as a mechanism of orbital and ocular injury demands training all members of the ophthalmology team in identifying IPV, providing support, and making appropriate referrals to improve patient safety and well-being.

aCarver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa

bSchool of Social Work, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota

cDepartment of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA

Correspondence to Erin M. Shriver, MD, FACS, 200 Hawkins Drive Iowa City, IA 52242, USA. Tel: +319 356 2590; fax: +319 356 0363; e-mail:

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