Epidemiology of welding-associated ocular injuries

Am J Emerg Med. 2022 Apr:54:15-16. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2022.01.030. Epub 2022 Jan 20.


Purpose: Currently, there exists a lack of recent epidemiological data concerning ocular injuries due to welding related activities. Our study analyzes trends in ocular injuries related to usage of welding equipment in the U.S. from 2010 to 2019.

Methods: Using the Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) Database, we queried data from January 1st 2010 to December 31st 2019 using the corresponding product code for welding equipment (896). Results were stratified by year, and standard descriptive statistical methods were applied to components including gender, age, diagnoses, and ED disposition. Circumstances leading up to the injuries were reviewed as well.

Results: Between 2010 and 2019 a total of 109,127 welding-associated ocular injuries occurred in the United States (95% CI, 86937-131,316). Estimates show a decreasing trend in cases from 13,415 (95% CI, 9979-16,851) in 2010 to 6944 (95% CI, 4868-9020) in 2019. A majority of cases occurred in men (98.2%) and in the 10-49 year age range (83.8%). 3.3% of cases involved spectators and 44% were bilateral. The top three ocular injury diagnoses were flash burns (62.1%), foreign body implantation (19.6%), and contusions/abrasions (11.1%). The number of radiation injuries trended down from 9286 in 2010 to 4023. With respect to a documented location, 38.9% occurred at home and 4.5% occurred in a school setting. Most patients (99.9%) were discharged from the ED; 0.1% were admitted to the hospital.

Conclusions: The data suggests that number of ocular injuries related to welding has decreased significantly over the past 10 years. The most common injuries were radiation burns, foreign body disruption, and contusions/abrasions of the eye. Patients were predominantly men and between the ages of 10 and 49. Of note, almost half of all ocular injuries due to welding were bilateral, and 3% of ocular injuries were seen in spectators.

Keywords: Emergency department; Epidemiology; NEISS; Ocular trauma; Radiation burn; Welding.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Burns*
  • Child
  • Contusions*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Eye Injuries* / epidemiology
  • Eye Injuries* / etiology
  • Foreign Bodies*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Welding*
  • Young Adult