Purpose: Eye injuries are one of the most common types of work-related injuries. This study examined the lifetime prevalence rate of eye injuries at work and associated factors in the general population of the United States.
Methods: The data from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) were analyzed for individuals aged 18 years or older (n = 28,913). Lifetime prevalence rates of work-related eye injuries were determined by different factors, calculated as the percentage of the weighted number of people who reported to have an eye injury at work divided by the weighted total number of people in the corresponding category.
Results: The overall lifetime prevalence rate of work-related eye injuries was 4.4%. The lifetime age-specific prevalence rates of work-related eye injuries ranged from 2%, 3.8%, 4.9%, 6.0%, 5.4%, 4.0%, and 3.1% for ages 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65-74, and 75+ years, respectively, with the highest rate in the age of 45-54 years. Men had a more than four-times higher rate of eye injury at work than women. Workers with less than a high-school education, non-Hispanic whites, self-employed, and in the midwest region were more likely to experience eye injuries (all p-values < 0.001). Occupations of precision production, transportation, or farming, and industries of mining or construction also increased the risk of eye injuries at work.
Conclusion: Findings of the current study underscore the need of education and prevention program on eye protection at workplaces, targeting male workers, especially those who have a low education level and are self-employed.