RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, P.H.S.
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Work-related eye injuries treated in hospital emergency departments in the US.

BACKGROUND: Eye injuries account for 3.3% of all occupational injuries resulting in lost workdays in private industry in the United States. Work-related eye injuries among individuals 15 years of age and older treated in hospital emergency departments (EDs) in the United States in 1999 were investigated in this study.

METHODS: Work-related eye injuries treated in hospital EDs in the US were identified from the Work-Related Injury Statistics Query System (Work-RISQS). National estimates of the numbers and rates per 10,000 full-time worker equivalents (FTE) of work-related eye injuries were determined by gender and age. The characteristics of these injuries were described, including the injury event, the main source of injury, injury diagnosis, and the disposition of the injured patient.

RESULTS: In 1999, there were approximately 280,000 (95% confidence interval (CIs) +/- 66,400) work-related eye injuries treated in hospital EDs, with individuals 20-34 years of age at highest risk for work-related eye injury. Foreign-bodies in the eye and chemical burns were among the most common types of work-related eye injuries.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study underscore the need for use of appropriate eye protection and implementation, and enforcement of eye protection policies in the workplace to prevent work-related eye injuries.

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