5671 patients with injuries presenting to a busy eye casualty department were examined prospectively to determine the incidence, aetiology, and severity of the injury. Of these cases 69.9% occurred at work, 18.3% during leisure and domestic activities (excluding recognised sport), 2.3% during sport, and 1.9% were due to assaults; contact lens injury occurred in a further 2.3%, and the cause was unknown in 5.3%. One hundred and two (1.8%) patients required admission to hospital, and of their injuries 13.7% occurred at work, 22.6% during leisure and domestic activities, 42.2% at sport, 18.6% during assault, and 2.9% from an unknown cause. Children under 10 years of age accounted for 4% of the total patients presenting, but for more than 18% of those admitted and 26% of ocular penetrations. 98.3% of all injuries involved periorbital or superficial ocular structures only. The remainder involved intraocular structures. The majority of serious injuries were contusional. There was only one case of intraocular foreign body. This indicates that, while most injuries still occur in the workplace, sport and leisure activities account for the majority of serious injuries. While most injuries do not threaten sight, they do so disproportionately in children.
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