This report provides an overview of eye injury cases identified in hospital admission records over the 5-year period from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2015. A brief analysis of eye injury presentations to emergency departments (EDs) for a 2-year period from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2015 is also included.

Eye injury cases admitted to hospital, 2010–11 to 2014–15

Close to 52,000 people required an admission to hospital for treatment for eye injury between 2010–11 and 2014–15. An Open wound of the eyelid and periocular area (27%) was the most common principal diagnosis for eye injury cases, followed by a Fracture of orbital floor (18%). Falls were the most common cause of eye injury, being responsible for just over one-third (35%) of cases. A fall-related eye injury most commonly occurred in those aged over 65 and was more frequently reported in women of this age group (72%) than in men (46%). A further 23% of eye injuries were due to an Assault, with this being the most common external cause reported for males (26%). Exposure to inanimate mechanical forces (20%) rounded out the top 3 external causes. This latter category includes, for example, injuries due to a foreign body entering the eye, or being struck in the orbital region by an object. A total of 3,720 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were hospitalised for an eye injury. During this 5-year period, assault-related eye injuries were more frequent for Indigenous Australians (61% or 2,270 cases) than for non-Indigenous Australians (20%, or 9,317 cases).

Sports-related eye injuries

In the 5-year period 2010–11 to 2014–15, 3,291 injuries in males and 595 injuries in females were sustained while the person was participating in a sporting activity. This is likely to be an underestimation because information on activity while injured was not reported for 69% of cases. Sports-related eye injuries occurred most frequently among people aged 25–44 (34% of males and 26% of females). More than one-third (37%) of males were participating in a form of football, including rugby or soccer, when they sustained an eye injury. Trail or general horseback riding (12%) was the most common sport reported for females. Over half (55%) of the sports-related cases resulted in an Orbital bone fracture of some type.

Eye injuries while working for income

Approximately 3,000 eye injury cases (6%) occurred while the person was working for income. This is likely to be an underestimate because information on activity while injured was not reported for 69% of cases. The most common type of eye injury was Injury of eye and orbit (35%), followed by Orbital bone fracture (22%). Construction (14%; 400 cases) was the most frequently specified employment sector where eye injuries occurred While working for income. A further 9% of cases occurred in the Agriculture, forestry and fishing sector  (268 cases).

Eye injuries presenting to an emergency department, 2013–14 to 2014–15

A total of 86,602 cases presented to an ED with an eye injury between 1 July 2013 and 30 July 2015. More than 2 in 5 (44%) of all ED presentations for eye injury were for a Foreign body in the eye. Less than 1% of this type of eye injury resulted in a hospital admission.