Industrial accident-related ocular emergencies in a tertiary hospital in Singapore

Singapore Med J. 2008 Apr;49(4):280-5.


Introduction: We present a review of industrial accident-related ocular trauma, from the perspective of the emergency setting of a tertiary hospital in Singapore.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of patients seen by Tan Tock Seng Hospital's emergency ophthalmology service over a six-month period was performed. Data on clinical presentation, cause of injury, use of protective eyewear and subsequent losses of days-of-work were collected via a standardised telephone interview and review of case-sheets.

Results: A total of 300 persons presented with a diagnosis of industrial accident-related ocular trauma, out of the 1,460 patients seen during the study period. 95.7 percent were non-residents and the average age was 31 years. 99.3 percent were males. 66.0 percent were provided with protective eyewear, while 44.7 percent of those were non-compliant. The most common types of injuries were superficial foreign body (71.3 percent), chemical injury (10 percent) and blunt trauma (4 percent), while severe injury requiring admission and emergency surgery occurred in 15 cases. Average loss of days of work was 3.4 days.

Conclusion: Industrial accident-related ocular trauma comprises a relatively large proportion of the patients requiring ophthalmic review at the emergency service level in Singapore. These patients are mainly young, non-resident men and the injuries were generally minor. These are largely preventable with the use of well-fitting protective eyewear and strict compliance. This would greatly reduce the unnecessary loss of workdays. Therefore, there is a need to review the design, and reinforce the strict implementation of occupational eye safety programmes, especially among non-resident workers.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants
  • Eye Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Eye Injuries / prevention & control
  • Eye Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Singapore / epidemiology
  • Transients and Migrants