Purpose: To describe the epidemiology of ocular injuries presenting to the University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Design: Prospective analysis of all ocular trauma injuries presenting to the Department of Ophthalmology in UMMC from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2008.
Participants: A total of 603 eyes of 546 patients were recruited for the study.
Methods: All patients presenting to the department with ocular trauma injuries were assessed by an ophthalmologist. Data on the type and source of injury, demographic profile of the patients, and clinical presentation were documented using a uniform and validated datasheet.
Results: Among eye injury cases, 481 patients (88.1%) were male, with a male-to-female ratio of 7.4:1. Of the patients, 412 (75.5%) were Malaysian while the remaining 134 (24.5%) were of non-Malaysian nationality. The average age was 31.5 years (range 1-81 years). A total of 238 injured eyes (43.6%) were work-related. The common sources of eye trauma include the use of high-powered tools (30.8%), motor vehicle accident (23.1%), and domestic accidents (17.7%). Only six patients (2.5%) reported to having used eye protective device (EPD) at time of their work-related injuries.
Conclusions: A major cause of preventable ocular injuries in Malaysia was work-related trauma. Ocular injuries can be reduced by the use of eye protection devices and the implementation of appropriate preventive strategies to address each risk factor. Effective training is an integral part of occupational safety and health, which should be made mandatory at the workplace. In addition, there should be a continual assessment of safety and health issues at the workplace. A long-term database of all ocular injuries in Malaysia is recommended, to aid research on a larger scale and the development of new preventive strategies for ocular injuries.