gms | German Medical Science

25th Annual Meeting of the German Retina Society

German Retina Society

01.06. - 02.06.2012, Münster

Eye injuries caused by the water jet ejected from fire-fighting hoses: results of an experimental study with focus on the retina

Meeting Abstract

  • Gerrit Darkow - Weddingstedt
  • U. Hennighausen - Heide
  • A. Klamann - Magdeburg
  • U. Krause - Otto-von-Guericke Universität, Magdeburg
  • A. Viestenz - Universitäts-Augenklinik Homburg
  • F. Wienecke - Institut der Feuerwehr Sachsen-Anhalt, Heyrothsberge

German Retina Society. 25th Annual Conference of the German Retina Society. Münster, 01.-02.06.2012. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2012. Doc12rg58

doi: 10.3205/12rg58, urn:nbn:de:0183-12rg581

This is the translated version of the article.
The original version can be found at:

Published: May 30, 2012

© 2012 Darkow et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Purpose: An international survey has shown that eye injuries caused by hose stream for fire-fighting are comparatively rare, but can lead to severe lacerations up to blindness. The following experimental study was performed to investigate the mechanism of this laceration.

Methods: 76 Pig eyes were embedded in an artificial orbita and exposed to the water jet under predefined conditions. A conventional smooth bore jet branchpipe and a modern combination branchpipe were used. The deformations of the globe were documented using a high-speed camera. The eyeballs were examined by slit lamp and ophthalmoscopy, after the exposure additionally by sonography including ultrasonic bio-microscopy.

Results: Using the standard inlet pressure of 5 bar in a distance of 2 m in all specimens retinal lacerations (holes or detachment) were found, in a distance of 5 m in 33% and of 8 m in 10%. Up to a distance of 4 m the extent of retinal damage was higher than the averaged extend of all examined ocular tissues, but in a further distance the relation reversed. The video sequences showed high-frequent oscillations of the eyeballs with downward drift in longer distances (x (2 m)=111 Hz, x (5 m)=52 Hz, x (8 m)=33 Hz).

Conclusions: Analog to the results of the international survey a relation between the extent of damage and the impact pressure was found. The slow-motion showed oscillating deformations of the globe, explained by the fluid dynamic conditions in the orbita. The lacerations of the retina should be regarded as a recurrent contusion-suction-trauma.