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Falls, Fights Cause Most Serious Eye Injuries: Study

And cost of treatment in hospitals has jumped in the past decade, researchers add

MONDAY, Nov. 16, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Falls and fights are the leading causes of eye injuries that land people in the hospital, a new study finds.

Also, the cost of treating such injuries is going up. The analysis of data from nearly 47,000 people hospitalized for eye injuries between 2002 and 2011 showed that treatment costs rose 62 percent during that time and is now more than $20,000 per injury.

"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," wrote lead researcher Dr. Christina Prescott, an ophthalmology professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

"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," she added.

Falls were the leading cause of eye injuries and accounted for more than 8,425 hospitalizations. Most cases involved patients aged 60 and older. Falls caused by slipping resulted in nearly 3,000 eye injuries, and falling down stairs caused 900 eye injuries, according to a news release from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Overall, fighting and assaults caused the second highest number of eye injuries, accounting for nearly 8,000 hospitalizations. However, this was the most common cause of eye injuries among those aged 10 to 59.

Among children aged 10 and younger, the leading cause of eye injury was accidentally being hit by a person or object, followed by car crashes and accidentally being hit, pierced or cut by sharp objects such as scissors.

The median cost of treating eye injuries rose from $12,430 to $20,116 over the study period. Costs are higher at large hospitals and for older patients, according to the study that was to be presented Friday at the academy's annual meeting, in Las Vegas.

Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

Prevent Blindness America offers eye injury prevention tips.

SOURCE: American Academy of Ophthalmology, news release, Nov. 14, 2015

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