Serious eye injuries include orbital fractures and being pierced by objects. These injuries can be expensive to treat, and in many cases are preventable. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have revealed that falling and fighting top the list of major causes of ocular trauma injuries resulting in hospitalization. They also noted that the cost to treat eye injuries at hospitals rose by 62% over a 10-year period and it now exceeds $20,000 per injury.
The researchers identified a sample of nearly 47,000 patients aged 0 to 80 years who were diagnosed with ocular trauma from 2002 to 2011 using a national health care database. They analyzed the total cost of hospitalization, cause of injury, type of injury and length of hospital stay. The researchers then grouped injured people by age. Their findings suggest-
1. Falls are the leading cause of ocular trauma. Most of the 8,425 falls recorded happened to those 60 years and older. Among the types of falls, slipping accounted for nearly 3,000 eye injuries. Falling down the stairs was cited as a cause of eye injury 900 times.
3. Children injured in accidents, vehicle collisions and by sharp objects- For kids aged 10 years 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 respectively.
4. The median cost of treating eye injuries shot up from $12,430 to $20,116 between the years 2002 to 2011, an increase of 62%. The investigators found costs to be higher at large hospitals and for older patients.
Dr. Christina Prescott, the study's lead researcher and an ophthalmology professor at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University, said, "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."
These findings could perhaps lower eye injury rates and overall health care costs for eye trauma inpatient visits. The research was presented at AAO 2015, the 119th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.