Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Seatbelts Protect Your Eyes from Airbags

Ophthalmologists from Brown University and Penn State University medical schools wanted to analyze the variety of eye injuries that occur in airbag-deployed collisions. They scoured over 9,000 records from a single metropolitain Level 1 trauma center between 1997 to 2005. They discovered 47 documented eye injuries.

Here's how the numbers broke down with the occupants of the 47 airbag-worthy crashes:

  • 21 of 47 occupants did not wear seatbelts and 71% of them sustained serious eye injuries
  • Only 76% of this group recovered 20/40 vision or better
  • 14% of this group ended up legally blind


  • 26 of 47 occupants were wearing seatbelts and only 31% sustained serious eye injuries
  • 96% of this group recovered 20/40 vision or better
  • Nobody in this group ended up legally blind

The authors concluded that seatbelt use is associated with fewer airbag eye injuries, less severe eye injuries, and better visual outcomes.

So, now you have two reasons to wear your seatbelt: to protect your life after colliding with other vehicles and to protect your precious eyesight from your own airbag.

REFERENCE: Rao SK. Ophthalmology, March 2008, pages 573-576.

Seatbelt Light

Now, here's something else the seatbelt can do for your eyes, well, your vision more specifically. Just clip this little light onto your seat belt and turn it on when you want to read something and need a little more focused light. Passengers can use it without distracting the driver. Two levels of brightness from 4 LED lights, uses 3 AA batteries (not included).

Click this link to purchase a set of two Seatbelt Lights from the Whatever Works website.

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