The two leading causes for eye injuries severe enough to result in hospitalization are falling and fighting. This finding is according to results of a study presented at a major ophthalmology meeting.
Falling was the top cause of eye injuries overall and accounted for more than 8,425 hospitalizations over the period from 2002 to 2011. The researchers, at Johns Hopkins University, also found that the average cost to treat eye injuries at a hospital is now over $20,000 per injury, a rise of 62% during that period and.
The researchers used a national healthcare database to identify a sample of nearly 47,000 patients aged 0 to 80 diagnosed with trauma to the eye from 2002 to 2011. They examined the total cost of hospitalization, cause of injury, type of injury and length of hospital stay. The researchers then grouped injured people by age.
The found that falls are the leading cause of eye injury, especially in the elderly. Most of the 8,425 falls recorded happened to those 60 and older.
Fighting was second most common cause of ocular trauma, with nearly 8,000 hospitalizations for eye injuries caused by fights and various types of assault. Fighting was the top cause reported for people aged 10 to 59.
For children aged10 and under, the leading cause of eye injury was being struck by accident by a person or object. Car crashes and accidentally being pierced or cut by a sharp object (such as scissors) were second and third on the list of causes.
Serious injuries to the eye include fractures of the bones around the eye and having the eye pierced by objects. These injuries can be expensive to treat, but they are preventable in many cases. The purpose of the study was identify the most common causes of eye injuries as well as the associated hospital costs so that efforts at preventing these injuries could be better targeted. Such interventions could perhaps lower eye injury rates and overall health care costs for eye trauma inpatient visits.
The study was presented at the 119th annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.