Penetrating ocular injuries in the home

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BackgroundWe studied the prevalence and aetiology of penetrating ocular injuries, in particular ones that were sustained whilst undertaking Do It Yourself (DIY) or gardening in the domestic environment. We also examined the extent of eye safety promotion in DIY stores and garden centres and on their websites.MethodsWe conducted a case note review of patients who underwent surgery for penetrating ocular trauma between January 2000 and June 2004. Eight DIY stores and garden centres and 10 websites were visited and evaluated using standardized questions.ResultsOf the 85 patients identified, 35 (41.2%) patients had injuries that occurred in the home with 10 patients having visual acuities of <6/60 at final follow up. Accidents from DIY or gardening were the cause in 17 of 33 (51.5%) patients, with a failure to wear eye protection in all cases. Overall, DIY stores and garden centres were poor at promoting eye safety both in their stores and on their websites.ConclusionThe home is a frequent place for severe penetrating ocular injury, with highly popular pastimes such as DIY and gardening as common causes. As many of these injuries are preventable, additional safety information is essential to educate the public on the potential dangers of these pastimes.

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