Falls are the leading cause of eye injuries requiring hospitalization. A team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University studied the leading causes for eye injuries that merit hospitalization. The purpose of the study was to identify the most common causes of eye injuries and the related cost of each type of injury.
The research team used a sample of 47,000 patients from a national healthcare database between the ages of 0 and 80 who had a documented case of eye trauma between 2002 and 2011. The researchers analyzed the type of injury, cause of injury, length of hospital stay and the cost of the hospitalization. Then, the patients were grouped by age. The research team found that the cost to treat an eye injury jumped by 62 percent between the time the study began and ended, and an eye injury now costs $20,000 on average.
Falling accounted for 8,425 hospitalizations over the research period. Most patients were 60 years of age or older. More specifically, slipping caused 3,000 eye injuries, and falling down the stairs accounted for 900 injuries.
Fighting, including brawls and assault, was the second most common cause for eye injury, with 8,000 hospitalizations. This was the top cause of hospitalizations for patients between the ages of 10 to 59 years of age.
For children aged 10 and under, the leading cause of eye injury was accidentally being struck by a person or object. This was followed by car crashes and accidentally being cut by a sharp object like scissors (Source: Youth Health).
Christina Prescott, M.D., Ph.D., an ophthalmology professor and the lead researcher of the study explained, “While we have some clues, we still can’t be certain why it’s more expensive to get treated for an eye injury now than before. It could be related to drug prices or administrative costs. Either way, it’s clear we need more targeted interventions to help reduce these types of injuries, many of which are preventable” (Source: PRN Newswire).
Prescott and the Johns Hopkins team are optimistic that the research from this study will help lower eye injury incidence and reduce overall health care costs. This research was presented at the 119th annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.