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Men are almost five times more likely than women to need a foreign body embedded in their eye removed by an optometrist.
Recent 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 per cent – were men”, said Optometry Australia’s senior resident optometrist, Luke Arundel.
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.
Arundel said that 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,” he said.
“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.”