Eye injuries represent a largely preventable, yet potentially disabling consequence of exposure to workplace hazards. Little nationally representative information is available regarding industry-specific risks of eye injury or the extent of protective equipment usage at the time of injury. Data from the National Health Interview Survey, 1988 Occupational Health Supplement were analyzed to evaluate the occurrence of occupational eye injury among noninstitutionalized U.S. civilians employed during the year prior to interview. Population estimates and their standard errors were calculated with methods for complex multistage sample surveys (SUDAAN software). For the one-year period prior to interview, 5 eye injuries per 1000 workers (95% confidence interval [CI]= 4/1000-6/1000) were reported, representing 6% of the estimated total work-related injuries. Workers in construction and manufacturing were at particularly high risk of eye injury (relative risk [RR]=9.6, 95% CI=3.6-15.5 and RR=7.2, 95% CI;=3.2-11.2, respectively), compared to the group comprising professional, finance, entertainment, and public administration industries. An estimated 37% of workers with eye injuries sought initial treatment in emergency rooms (ER) and 43% filed worker's compensation (WC) claims. Overall, 40% of workers with eye injuries reported that they were using safety eyewear at the time of injury, but these percentages varied widely by industry (8% and 61 % for construction and manufacturing, respectively). These results provide a broader perspective of the distribution of work-related eye injuries in the U.S. than is captured by ER or WC databases alone. In addition, they provide direction for targeting intervention efforts and suggest a need for further research to investigate industry-specific patterns of use and effectiveness of safety eyewear.