Volume 36, Issue 3 (May 1991)
The Eyes of Child Abuse Victims: Autopsy Findings
The authors studied 77 pairs of eyes removed from children who had died of suspected child abuse. Forty-seven of the cases had retinal hemorrhages. Those showing retinal hemorrhages were younger children and had fewer other stigmata of child abuse. Hemorrhages are more likely to occur in cases where the child was shaken or swung than in those with severe direct head trauma. The authors recommend that examination of the eyes be included in the autopsies of all small children who died without an obvious cause of death. Experience in both processing and reading of ocular material is necessary for reliable results.