Title

The epidemiology of ocular injury in a major US automobile corporation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1-1-1998

Journal

Eye

Volume

12

Issue

5

DOI

10.1038/eye.1998.220

Keywords

Automobile industry; Epidemiology; Eye injury; Incidence; Ocular trauma; Work-related injury

Abstract

Purpose. Although occupational eye injuries account for a large proportion of ocular injuries, few industry-specific data have been published. To address this problem, we examined the epidemiology of eye injuries in a large automobile corporation. Methods. The study population included all hourly-paid persons employed between July 1989 and June 1992 at 33 plants of the UAW-Chrysler Corporation. Incident ocular injury data were obtained from an active surveillance system. Year-end employee censuses were used to estimate the population at risk. Results. A total of 1983 work-related eye injuries occurred over the 3 year period, with an incidence rate of 14.9 per 1000 person-years. Workers aged 20-29 years had the highest incidence of eye injuries (28.2 per 1000 person-years). Men had a higher incidence of injury than women across all ages, with an age-adjusted incidence of 15.6 per 1000 person-years and age-adjusted relative risk of 1.5 (95% confidence interval: 1.4, 1.6). Superficial foreign bodies and corneal abrasions made up 86.7% of all injuries while open globe injury occurred in only 3 cases. Only 25% of workers had been using some form of eye protection at the time of injury. Almost one-third (32.3%) of ocular injuries resulted in the inability of workers to resume their normal duties for at least 1 day. Conclusion. Workplace eye injuries in the automotive industry account for significant avoidable morbidity and lost productivity.

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