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Arq Bras Oftalmol. 2008 Mar-Apr;71(2):149-52.

[Occupational trauma due to superficial corneal foreign body].

[Article in Portuguese]

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Departamento de Oftalmologia da Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brasil.



To evaluate the epidemiology of superficial corneal foreign body.


Patients who were seen at the Emergency Service of the Federal University of São Paulo, from April/05 to June/05, were screened and those with superficial corneal foreign body were interviewed. Data regarding gender, age, occupation, employment status, availability and use of protective devices and supervision of their use were collected. Awareness of the possible complications was also assessed. Results were analyzed using chi-square or Fisher exact test.


One hundred twenty-three patients were interviewed. Only 3 patients were female. The mean age was 36 years. Most injuries occurred at the workplace (86.2%), and 58.4% of the patients did not have a legal employment registration. The occupational activities most frequently reported were construction related activities (44.3%) and welding/soldering (11.3%). In most workplaces (79.8%) protective devices were available and 85.3% of the patients were instructed to use them. A safety device was being used during the accident in 34.2% of the cases and this was more frequent among patients that had legal employment registry (p=0.008) and among those under supervision (p=0.0415). The majority of the patients (68.9%) were aware of the risk of severe complications.


Most patients with superficial corneal foreign body are aware of its severe complications and injuries usually occur in places where safety devices are available and often during their use. Our findings suggest that prevention should focus on supervision and correct use of safety devices.

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