Farm activities associated with eye injuries in the Agricultural Health Study

J Agromedicine. 2008;13(1):17-22. doi: 10.1080/10599240801986025.


Farmers are at risk for work-related eye injuries, some of which can be very serious. This study describes the farm activities that were related to eye injury in a group of 36 Iowa farmers in the Agricultural Health Study who sustained 40 farmwork-related eye injuries requiring medical advice or treatment. Farm activities of grinding or cutting metal accounted for 11 (27.5%) of the eye injuries, welding for 3 (7.5%), and drilling for 2 (5%). The other 24 eye injuries were related to diverse farm activities. One injury was caused by an animal. Only one injury was caused by a chemical exposure. Foreign body in the eye was the most frequent type of eye injury overall, accounting for 32 (80%) of the eye injuries. Of those, 20 were metallic foreign bodies. Although none of the injuries required hospitalization, 10 eye injuries (25%) resulted in the farmer missing 1 to 5 days of work. At least three injuries occurred while farmers were wearing safety glasses/goggles. These results suggest that farmers are at risk for eye injury from activities such as grinding and cutting metal, welding, and drilling and from other diverse activities on the farm for which eye hazards may not have been anticipated. In addition, these findings have implications for use of appropriate eye protection during all farm activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adult
  • Agriculture*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Equipment Safety
  • Eye Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Eye Injuries / etiology
  • Eye Injuries, Penetrating / epidemiology*
  • Eye Injuries, Penetrating / etiology
  • Eye Protective Devices*
  • Humans
  • Iowa / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult