Background: Ocular trauma is a significant cause of blindness in Papua New Guinea (PNG). This study was done to determine the pattern and rates of ocular and adnexal injuries so as to determine the size and extent of the problem.
Methods: A retrospective study of 4157 cases presenting with ocular trauma in three regions of PNG was carried out. The data were analysed with respect to the age, sex, province, type and cause of injury, time interval between injury and presentation to the hospital and the final visual outcome after treatment.
Results: Ocular trauma rates in PNG were alarmingly high (39.1 per 100,000). The commonest cause of injury in the younger age group was due to lime. Alcohol-related violence and fights resulted in injuries in the adult age group. Most of the injuries were grievous and 60.7% of patients were left with a visual acuity of less than 6/60 in the injured eye. In addition, 78.7% of the patients were under 30 years of age.
Conclusions: Ocular injuries in PNG are an important cause of visual disability. Some specific injuries, such as those due to lime in children, can easily be prevented by health education.