Within a six-week period, Grady Memorial Hospital eye specialist Dr. Yousuf Khalifa witnessed an unusual set of traumatic eye injuries. Three patients, all riding with their windows down, suffered serious eye injuries when the glass in their exterior rear-facing side view mirrors shattered after being hit, sending shards of glass into their eyes.
“Side view mirrors are not made of shatter-proof glass, like the rest of the glass in motor vehicles, so when there’s a crash or something hits them hard enough, they shatter,” said Khalifa, Grady’s chief of ophthalmology and associate professor of ophthalmology, Emory School of Medicine. “Working at Georgia’s busiest Level 1 trauma center, we see a lot of eye injuries related to motor vehicle crashes, but these particular cases got me wondering if shattering side view mirrors were causing injuries on a large scale.”
Khalifa details the cases in an article published July 18, 2019 in the Journal of the American Medical Association Ophthalmology (JAMA Ophthalmology). His goal is to get the attention of federal safety officials in an effort to make side view mirrors safer.
“I would like to see the same regulations apply to the glass in side view mirrors that apply to the other glass in motor vehicles. All of the patients I treated suffered extensive damage to their eyes – damage I think can and should be prevented,” Khalifa said.