Epidemiology of ocular trauma in Australia

Ophthalmology. 1999 Sep;106(9):1847-52. doi: 10.1016/S0161-6420(99)90361-5.


Purpose: To describe the prevalence and risk factors of ocular trauma in a representative sample of Australians aged 40 and over who reside in the state of Victoria.

Design: Population-based cross-sectional study.

Participants: Australians aged 40 years and older living in Victoria.

Methods: Cluster, stratified sampling was used to identify permanent residents for a population-based study of eye disease. A standardized examination that included visual acuity and information about ocular trauma was conducted.

Main outcome measures: Self-reported history of ocular trauma and circumstances surrounding the events.

Results: A total of 3271 (83% of eligible) Melbourne residents and 1473 (92% of eligible) rural residents were examined. The overall rate of eye injury history in Victoria was 21.1% (95% confidence limits [CL] 19.6%, 22.5%). Men were far more likely than women to have ever experienced an eye injury (34.2% versus 9.9%), and rural men were more likely than Melbourne men to have ever had an eye injury (42.1 % versus 30.5%). The workplace accounted for the majority of eye injuries (60%), followed by the home (24%). The location with the highest percent of people reporting the use of eye protection at the time of the injury was the workplace (18.5%); the workplace accounted for the lowest rate of hospitalization (4.9%). The industry with highest cumulative rate of eye injuries was communication (14 per 1000), whereas the highest occupation-specific cumulative rates of eye injury were recorded for tradespersons (18 per 1000).

Conclusions: Although ocular trauma is usually not associated with bilateral vision impairment, it is a major public health problem in Australia. Rural men, people engaged in hammering or sport, and those in the trades are at highest risk and require specific, targeted, prevention messages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eye Injuries / classification
  • Eye Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Eye Injuries / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Victoria / epidemiology
  • Visual Acuity