Eye-related injuries in Australia is the third in a series of national reports providing an overview of eye health in Australia. This report contains information on eye injuries drawn from a range of data sources.

Key findings

Generally, eye injuries were found to be more common for males than for females, particularly those of working age.

General practice

  • Eye injuries are only a small proportion (0.2%) of presentations to general practice, with 46% of presentations associated with a foreign body in the eye.
  • Almost half of all eye injury presentations required medication and two in five required a procedural treatment.

Emergency departments

  • Eye injury constitutes 6% of injury presentations to Victorian emergency departments (EDs).
  • Four-fifths of presentations involved males; the majority were of working age.
  • More than half of presentations were due to a foreign body in the eye.
  • Only 3% of ED presentations required hospitalisation.


  • More than two-thirds of hospitalised eye injury cases involved males.
  • Fracture of bones around the eye and superficial injury around the eye were the most common first occurring eye diagnoses, constituting more than half of hospitalised eye injury cases.
  • Falls, assault and transportation were the main types of mechanism of injury for eye-related hospitalisations.
  • 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).

Workers compensation

  • The most common diagnosis for eye-related injury and disease compensation claims was a foreign body in the eye. The median time lost from work because of a foreign body in the eye in 2004-05 was 1.5 weeks.
  • The most common mechanism of injury for work-related eye injury was being hit by moving objects.