Occupational eye injuries: a continuing problem

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BackgroundOcular trauma is a worldwide cause of visual morbidity, a significant proportion of which occurs in the workplace. This is largely preventable with the use of protective eyewear and strict compliance.AimTo analyse the type of occupational eye injuries that occur and to document the use of eye protection in patients presenting to a UK district general hospital.MethodsA pilot retrospective case note analysis of all ocular injuries seen in one calendar month was performed. A prospective survey of consecutive occupational ocular injuries presenting to this district general accident and emergency (A&E) department over a 2-month period was then carried out. Demographics, aetiology, eye protection usage and clinical details were recorded and analysed.ResultsOf all eye patients attending this A&E, 31% (87/283) were due to occupational eye injuries. Of 55 prospectively reviewed patients with occupational eye injuries, the majority had minor injuries. Of the cases where eye protection was recorded, 56% (18/32) were not wearing any protection and 44% (14/32) wore eye protection at the time of injury.ConclusionsOccupational eye injuries are a commonly seen ocular complaint in the A&E department. Provision of appropriate eyewear protection and worker education is required to minimize the incidence of ocular injury in the workplace.

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