Evaluation of Occupational Ocular Trauma: Are We Doing Enough To Promote Eye Safety in the Workplace?

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The aim of this study was to document the use of eye personal protective equipment (PPE) by patients who had sustained an eye injury in the workplace and to evaluate the characteristics and outcomes of these patients.

All adult patients who had sustained an eye injury in the workplace and presented to the urgent ophthalmology clinic of a tertiary care hospital from 1 October 2013 to 30 November 2014 were eligible for inclusion.

Medical records were reviewed to obtain occupational eye injury data, including etiology, type, and severity of injury as per the Ocular Trauma Score. Use of eye PPE at the time of injury was recorded. Outcome data, including disposition, duration of follow-up, and return to baseline best-corrected visual acuity, were also recorded.

This study included 169 patients . The median age of the cohort was 31 years, and 92.9% were male. Chemical exposure (31.4%); grinding (17.9%); and injuries sustained by a sharp-object, metal, or nail (13.1%) were overall the most common etiologies of injury. Eye PPE was not worn by 66.9% of the cohort, with 33.1% of the cohort sustaining an occupational eye injury despite the use of eye PPE.

The use of eye PPE among workers who sustain an eye injury in the workplace remains low; yet, its use does not preclude a significant proportion of such workers from injury. Increasingly advocating for both the use and appropriate selection of eye PPE in the workplace is an important public health initiative that should therefore be encouraged.

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