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Party Foam-Induced Eye Injuries and the Power of Media Intervention

Abulafia, Adi MD; Segev, Fani MD; Platner, Eva MD; Ben Simon, Guy J. MD

doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e31826cf315
Clinical Science

Purpose: To describe the clinical features and treatment outcome of eye injuries sustained as a result of contact with artificial snow spray (“party foam”/“silly string”) during 2 consecutive Israeli Independence Day celebrations.

Design: Retrospective, multicenter, consecutive case series.

Setting: Institutional.

Intervention/Study Population: All patients who presented to 2 ophthalmology emergency services in 2007 and in 2008 with eye injury caused by contact with the foam. The medical records of the foam-induced eye injury cases were retrieved and analyzed. Data on injury type, comprehensive ophthalmic examination, and time to resolution were collected and analyzed.

Main Outcome Measures: The assessed variables included the number of cases per year, injury type, visual acuity, treatment, and outcome.

Results: A total of 96 patients (135 eyes) had suffered from foam-induced ocular chemical injuries during the 2 celebrations. Sex and laterality were evenly distributed in the study population. The mean ± SD age was 12.8 ± 2.14 years (range, 7–17 years). All patients suffered from chemical conjunctivitis (100%) and superficial punctate keratopathy (79%), corneal erosion (27%), and conjunctival erosion (5%). More patients were seen during 2007 compared with 2008 [85 (117 eyes) and 11 (18 eyes), respectively]. This reduction was directly attributable to increased public awareness because of media coverage (newspapers, radio, and national TV).

Conclusions: Sprayed foam used in parties and public celebrations can cause mild-to-severe ocular surface injuries. Increased public awareness will inevitably reduce the use of this dangerous agent, but warnings need to be repeated yearly in the national media.

*Department of Ophthalmology, Meir Medical Center, Kfar Saba, Israel

Goldschleger Eye Institute, Sheba Medical Center, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Hashomer, Israel.

Reprints: Guy J. Ben Simon, Goldschleger Eye Institute, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Ramat Gan 52621, Israel (e-mail:

Supported in part by the Talpiot Medical Leadership Program, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel.

The authors have no proprietary interest in any of the materials presented in the article.

Received June 8, 2012

Accepted July 31, 2012

Copyright © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.