Purpose: To describe the epidemiology of eye trauma presenting to a regional referral health service in New South Wales, Australia.

Methods: A two-stage retrospective and prospective case series study was conducted. Patients who presented with eye trauma to Wagga Wagga Base Hospital (WWBH) emergency department (ED) during a one year review period formed the retrospective case series (RCS). Patient inclusion was determined using SNOMED CT and ICD-10 codes applied to medical records. Patients presenting with eye trauma to the WWBH ED or its ophthalmology service over a prospective 80 day study period formed the prospective case series (PCS). The main outcome measures were patient demographics, eye trauma incidence for Wagga Wagga and the Murrumbidgee region and injury details.

Results: Four hundred and eleven and 117 eye injuries were identified for the RCS and PCS, respectively. Mean age was 35.5 years ± 18.6 (RCS) and 34.1 years ± 17.1 (PCS), with male predominance, 77.9% (RCS) and 89.7% (PCS). The incidence of eye trauma in Wagga Wagga and Murrumbidgee was estimated from the PCS at 537.1 and 334.4 per 100,000 person-years, respectively. A large proportion of injuries were work-related, 40.2% (RCS) and 45.8% (PCS). Protective eyewear use in work-related injuries was low, 27.6% (RCS) and 39.0% (PCS).

Conclusions: Eye trauma remains a significant public health concern with a high incidence in Wagga Wagga and the Murrumbidgee region. Protective eyewear compliance is low in work-related eye injuries. Patient demographic and occupational factors may be targeted to reduce the burden of disease.


epidemiology, eye trauma, protective eyewear, regional, rural

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