Working age males most likely to suffer eye injury

Males, particularly those of working age, were more likely than females to suffer an injury to the eye, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

'While eye injuries constitute just a very small percentage of GP visits (0.2%), they make up about 6% of emergency department visits; including people who have to be admitted to hospital and those who are treated and sent home,' said Clare Bradley of the AIHW's National Injury Surveillance Unit.'

According to the report, Eye-related injuries in Australia, about half (46%) of GP visits for eye injuries were associated with a foreign body in the eye.

Four-fifths of those visits involved males; the majority of whom were of working age.

About half of those required medication and two in five required some kind of procedural treatment.

'A foreign body in the eye was also the most common reason for treatment in the emergency department and eye-related injury compensation claims, with the median time lost from work being about a week and a half,' Ms Bradley said.

'Conversely, fractures of the bones around the eye and superficial injury around the eye were the most common first diagnoses for hospitalised eye injuries,' she said.

About a quarter (23%) of emergency department visits were due to a person being struck by, or colliding with, an object, and another 12% were due to being struck by, or colliding with another person.

For those eye injuries serious enough to require hospitalisation, falls, assault, and transportation accidents were the main ways the injuries occurred.

More than two-thirds of hospitalised eye injury cases involved males.

Hospitalised eye injuries involving Indigenous Australians occurred at a much higher rate (234 cases per 100,000) than for other Australians (79 per 100,000)

Wednesday 4 February 2009

Further information: Clare Bradley, tel. 08 8201 7625.

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1032.