According to research from Johns Hopkins University, the leading causes for eye injuries that merit hospitalization are falling and fighting. This research was presented at the 119th annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Using a national healthcare database, the research team chose a sample of 47,000 patients 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 purpose of the study was to identify the most common causes of eye injuries and the related cost of each type of injury. If doctors and hospitals could better understand the causes of eye injury, they could specifically target ways in which to prevent them. Eye injuries are accompanied by a hefty hospital bill as well; the average cost to treat an eye injury today is $20,000.
Falling accounted for 8,425 hospitalizations over the research period of 2002 to 2011, and most of the recorded falls were in patients age 60 and older. Falls were followed by flights, coming in second place with 8,000 cases. Fighting was the top cause 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 study is especially useful because it underscores the importance of eliminating household dangers like poor lighting, clutter and tripping hazards in the homes of elderly individuals. According to the CDC, one in every 3 adults age 65 or older falls each year, and 2 million are taken to the Emergency Room for fall-related injuries (Source: CDC). Possibly the most dangerous risks are hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries. The real tragedy is that half of people who experience a hip fracture never regain their ability to live independently, and many elderly individuals die from related complications. The hope is that the research from this study will help lower eye injury incidence and reduce overall health care costs (Source: Youth Health).