The authors conducted a hospital-based study to ascertain basic, descriptive epidemiologic information about ocular trauma in an urban setting. Over a 6-month period, 3184 patients presenting to our emergency ward with ocular trauma were studied. Severe injuries totaled 5.1% (ruptured globe, intraocular foreign body, hyphema, orbital/facial fracture) and 94.9% were superficial injuries and contusions. A disproportionate burden of severe ocular injury was borne by those less than 15 years of age. The work place accounted for 48% of all injuries and 50% of ruptured globes. Automobile repair-related tasks were specifically associated with injury. Sports injuries, although accounting for 3.4% of all injuries, were responsible for 60% of hyphemas and 10% of ruptured globes. Annual direct and indirect costs for these ocular injuries are estimated conservatively at $5 million and a loss of 60 work years. A large burden of preventable eye trauma is borne by both patients and society.