Eye Health

Updated 14 March 2018

Most serious eye injuries are caused by falls and fights

Eye injuries can vary from minor to serious, and the cost of treating such injuries has gone up considerably, a new study finds.

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 hospitalised for eye injuries between 2002 and 2011 showed that treatment costs rose 62 percent during that time and is now more than $20,000 (± R280,000) per injury.

More targeted interventions

"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.

Read: Paint ball eye injuries severe

"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 hospitalisations.

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.

Read: Symptoms of an eye injury 

Overall, fighting and assaults caused the second highest number of eye injuries, accounting for nearly 8,000 hospitalisations. 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 at the academy's annual meeting in Las Vegas.

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

Read more: 

Common eye injuries 

Why vision is so crucial in sports 

Mark Boucher talks about the eye injury that ended his international career


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Megan Goodman qualified as an optometrist from the University of Johannesburg. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Stellenbosch University. She has a keen interest in ocular pathology and evidence based medicine as well as contact lenses.

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