man with something in eye

Men are five times more likely than women to get things in their eyes

83% of patients requiring the removal of a foreign object from the eye are men.

Men are almost five times more likely than women to need a foreign body embedded in their eye to be removed by an optometrist.

The latest Australian Medicare statistics reveal that 8,222 optometry patients have required the removal of a foreign object embedded in the eye since  September last year.

Of those who presented for treatment, 6,832 – or 83% – were men.

Australians aged 45-54 are the most prone to needing treatment for the removal of foreign bodies than any other age group. Again, men in this group received the most treatments with 1,400 cases treated compared to around 250 women.

Typical items that can embed in the eye include bits of metal, sand, dirt and grit and vegetative matter.

While more men than women may require this type of treatment due to gender differences across certain occupations (in particular trades and labouring) and home duties such as maintenance, renovating and gardening, it does signal that Australians also need to be taking eye safety more seriously.

Having a foreign body in the eye can cause the eyes to water, along with symptoms of redness, pain and a constant gritty or scratchy sensation. Depending on where the object has lodged you might notice that your vision has become blurry or sensitive to light. This is because the object can cause damage to the cornea – or clear window at the front of the eye – which plays an important role in focusing your vision.

It is essential that if you have something stuck in your eye that you head straight to your nearest optometrist to have it removed. Don’t attempt to do this yourself as you may damage the eye further and examination of the eye under a microscope is critical to assessing if prescription medication is also required.

Optometry Australia highly recommends that you wear Australian standard safety glasses if you are going to be working in an environment, or with equipment, that generates debris such as wood cutting, carpentry, grinding, hammering, mowing or pruning. Safety glasses are available in clear, sunglass and prescription options for those who need to wear glasses for clear distance or near vision.

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