The latest Medicare statistics revealed that more than 8,000 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”, 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. Common items that can embed in the eye include bits of metal, sand, dirt and grit and vegetative matter.

Mr 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 take 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…which plays an important role in focusing your vision.

“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” Mr Arundel said.