PURPOSE: To determine the incidence of hospitalized ocular injury in the United States Army and evaluate specific types and external causes of these injuries. METHODS: A US Army database that captured all hospital discharge records for Army personnel admitted to military and civilian hospitals was used to determine incident episodes of ocular injury requiring hospitalization from 1985 through 1994. Denominator data were available from the US Army. RESULTS: The average annual incidence of hospitalization for a principal or secondary diagnosis of ocular trauma (total hospitalized ocular injury) was 77.1 per 100,000 persons (95% confidence interval, 75.1-79.2). There was a 38% decline in the rate of total hospitalized ocular injury during this 10-year period. Men had twice the rates of women over all age groups. The highest rate occurred in the 17- to 19-year age group, with rates of 220.7 and 123.4 per 100,000 in men and women, respectively. Whites had a higher rate than blacks and nonwhites-nonblacks. Almost a third of the injuries were contusions of the eye and adnexa. Among men, the leading causes were machinery or tools (21%), fights (18%), transport accidents (18%), and sports and training (11%). Only 7% were related to weaponry or war, and of these, 90% were from nonbattle activities. CONCLUSION: The type and cause of injury suggest that preventive measures may be effective in decreasing the incidence of ocular trauma requiring hospitalization in US Army personnel. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.
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