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Work-related acute eye injuries presenting to the West Virginia University hospital emergency department.

Inman-CJ; Jackson-LL; Helmkamp-JC; Islam-SS; Furbee-PM
NOIRS 2000--Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2000, Pittsburgh, PA, October 17-19, 2000. Pittsburgh, PA: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2000 Oct; :68
Background: Over 600,000 work-related eye injuries occur annually. This number may be low because clinical recognition and surveillance mechanisms to accurately characterize occupational injuries are lacking. Methods: To develop a better understanding of occupational eye injury circumstances and under-reporting of work-related injuries, we examined all emergency department (ED) visits for an eye injury presenting at West Virginia University Hospital Emergency Department during 1996. Through the emergency department-based injury surveillance system (EDBISS), we identified 556 eye injury visits. Medical charts were reviewed for injury circumstances and work-relatedness - defined as any injury or illness incurred while doing work for compensation, all agricultural production activities, and while doing work as a volunteer for an organized group. Results: On the basis of chart review, we identified 326 first visits for patients 18 years and older with an eye injury: 98 were work-related, 184 were non-work related, and 44 were possibly work-related. Based on admissions information, EDBISS indicated that 90 visits were work-related of the 98 cases identified from chart review (Kappa=90%). Since there were other misclassifications regarding work-relatedness and possible work-relatedness this kappa value may be an over estimate. From chart review, 69 cases filed West Virginia Workers Compensation claims. Of these, 54 (78%) were matched with the West Virginia Workers Compensation database which captures all work-related injuries in the state except voluntary organizations and churches. We are exploring reasons for the low match rate by comparing the matched and unmatched cases with regards to severity of injury and occupation. Conclusions: Injury surveillance that relies on compensation or insurance providers may under-report occupational injuries as seen in this example. Injury prevention would benefit from improved recording of work-related details by ED staff.
Accident-rates; Accident-statistics; Accidents; Accident-prevention; Injuries; Traumatic-injuries; Injury-prevention; Surveillance-programs; Eye-injuries; Eyes; Eye-damage
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Conference/Symposia Proceedings; Abstract
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NOIRS 2000 Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2000, Pittsburgh, PA., October 17-19, 2000