Study: Orbital Floor Fracture Most Expensive, Frequent Hospitalization for Eye Trauma

A senior man with a dreadful blotchy black and blue (and red) eye also has a large bandage covering several medical stitches in his temple after suffering a bad fall. He is not very happy about the situation!
Researchers analyzed the costs and frequency of emergency department visits for eye trauma from 2009 to 2014 in the U.S. using a nationwide sample.

The following article is a part of conference coverage from the American Academy of Ophthalmology 2020, being held virtually from November 13 to 15, 2020. The team at Ophthalmology Advisor will be reporting on the latest news and research conducted by leading experts in ophthalmology. Check back for more from the AAO 2020.

The average cost of emergency department visits for eye trauma in the United States has increased 27%, from $1,411 to $1,786, in the past 6 years, adjusting for inflation, researchers found in a retrospective, cross-sectional study presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology 2020 conference. Total charges exceed $5.2 million, they found.

The investigators calculated and characterized emergency department visits for a primary diagnosis of eye trauma from 2009 to 2014 in the United States using a nationwide emergency department sample and found that there were more than 3.9 million visits during the study period, with about 208 visits per 100,000 population.

They found that the majority of patients who made these visits were young (mean age of 33 years) and male (66%). Nearly half of them used Medicaid (22%) or self-pay (19%) for the cost of the visit, and 28% were from low-income households, according to the study.

Orbital floor fracture was the most expensive injury to treat, with an average cost of $5,580, and the most common cause of hospitalization, at 46%, and open globe injuries, which made up 28% of hospitalizations, followed, with an average cost of $5,512.

“Public health efforts for eye injury prevention are crucial, especially as these injuries become costlier to treat,” the researchers said.

More than 97% of patients who seek care at emergency departments for eye trauma in the country are treated and released from the emergency department, while 1.4% are admitted, they found.


Iftikhar M, Woreta F, Usmani B, Shah SM. ED visits for eye trauma in the U.S.: incidence, disposition and economic burden. Presented at: American Academy of Ophthalmology 2020 Annual Meeting; November 13-15, 2020. Abstract PO475

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