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john yan, Aditya Uppuluri, Marco A Zarbin, Neelakshi Bhagat; Epidemiology of Welding-Associated Ocular Injuries. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2021;62(8):2616.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To analyze trends in ocular injuries related to usage of welding equipment from 2010 to 2019.
Using the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) Database, we queried data from January 1st 2010 to December 31st 2019 using the corresponding product code for welding equipment (896). Results were stratified by year, and standard descriptive statistical methods were applied to components including gender, age, diagnoses, and ED disposition. Circumstances leading up to the injuries were reviewed as well.
Between 2010 and 2019, NEISS estimated a total of 109,127 welding-associated ocular injuries in the United States (95% CI, 86937-131316). The estimates show a decreasing trend in cases from 13,415 (95% CI, 9979-16851) in 2010 to 6,944 (95% CI, 4868-9020) in 2019. The overwhelming majority of cases occurred in men (98.2%) and predominantly in the 10-49 year age range (83.8%). Overall, 3.3% of cases involved spectators. The top three ocular injury diagnoses were flash burns from welding arc UV radiation emissions (62.1%), foreign body implantation (19.6%), and contusions/abrasions (11.1%). Notably, the number of radiation injuries trended down from 9,286 (69.2% of injuries) in 2010 to 4023 (27.9% of injuries) in 2019 while injuries due to foreign bodies did not show a clear trend. 16.2% of patients diagnosed with foreign body injury reported using protective eyewear, while 15.3% of patients with radiation burn injuries reported wearing eye protection. Interestingly, 44.2% of welding-associated ocular injuries involved both eyes. Radiation injury contributed to 90.1% of cases with bilateral injury, while a majority of unilateral injuries were due to foreign bodies. With respect to a documented location, 38.9% occurred at home and 4.5% occurred in a school setting. Most patients (99.9%) were treated in the emergency department and discharged; only 0.1% were admitted to the hospital for further management. No open globe injuries were reported.
The data suggests that number of ocular injuries related to welding has decreased significantly over the past 10 years. The most common injuries were radiation burns, foreign body disruption, and contusions/abrasions of the eye. Patients were predominantly men and between the ages of 10 and 49. Of note, almost half of all ocular injuries due to welding were bilateral, and 3% of ocular injuries were seen in spectators.
This is a 2021 ARVO Annual Meeting abstract.
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