Penetration eye injuries in the workplace. The National Eye Trauma System Registry

Arch Ophthalmol. 1992 Jun;110(6):843-8. doi: 10.1001/archopht.1992.01080180115038.


Occupational eye injuries are common and preventable. Between 1985 and 1991, there were 635 work-related penetrating eye injuries among the 2939 cases (22%) reported to the National Eye Trauma System Registry by 48 collaborating centers in 28 states and Washington, DC. The median age of the injured workers was 30 years; 75% were younger than 40 years; and 97% were male. The commonest causes of injuries were projectiles (457 cases), sharp objects (166 cases), blunt objects (60 cases), and blasts (22 cases); these terms are not mutually exclusive. Specific objects causing injuries included nails, wire, screwdrivers, and other hand tools. There was evidence of alcohol use by at least 2% of the injured workers. When they were injured, 6% of the workers were wearing safety glasses; 3% were wearing nonsafety eyewear. Posterior segment trauma, which occurred in 63% of the cases, included vitreous hemorrhage (42%), intraocular foreign bodies (35%), and retinal detachment (10%). Hyphema occurred in 35% and traumatic cataract in 32% of the cases. Initial visual acuity after injury was hand motion or worse in 43% of the cases. National Eye Trauma System Registry data are useful to identify strategies to prevent occupational eye injuries such as wider use of safety glasses and improvement in engineering controls.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Eye Foreign Bodies / epidemiology
  • Eye Foreign Bodies / prevention & control
  • Eye Injuries, Penetrating / epidemiology*
  • Eye Injuries, Penetrating / prevention & control
  • Eye Protective Devices
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupations
  • Registries
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Visual Acuity