Epidemiology of primary ophthalmic inpatient admissions in the United States

Document Type





Purpose: To determine the national estimates, demographics, and costs of inpatient eye care in the United States (US).
Design: Retrospective cross-sectional study.
Methods: National Inpatient Sample (NIS), a representative sample of all US community hospitals, was used to analyze inpatient admissions with a primary ophthalmic diagnosis from 2001 to 2014. National estimates of the most prevalent diagnoses were determined, and descriptive statistics were calculated for demographics and costs.
Results: From 2001 to 2014, there were an estimated 671 324 inpatient admissions (male patients, 51.6%; mean [standard deviation] age, 44.5 [27.3] years) in the US owing to an ophthalmic disorder-an annual rate of 16 per 100 000 population. The Mid-Atlantic region had the highest rate. Most admissions were owing to nontraumatic disorders (75.3%), classified as emergencies (41.8%), and covered by public insurance (48.9%). The median length of stay was 2 days and mortality was 0.2%. The total inflation-adjusted cost over the 14-year period was $5.9 billion. The most prevalent diagnosis was orbital cellulitis (14.5%), followed by orbital floor fracture (9.6%) and eyelid abscess (6.0%). Most diagnoses were infectious (28.0%) and the majority were attributed to external disease (24.3%). A total of 31.1% of all patients had an ophthalmic procedure, pars plana vitrectomy (4.8%) being the most common one.
Conclusion: There were around 48 000 ophthalmic inpatient admissions in the US costing $421 million every year. Orbital pathology, namely infection and trauma, was the leading cause of admissions. Implementing interventions to decrease the incidence of these conditions may significantly reduce the burden of inpatient ophthalmic care.


Issue no. are not provided by the author/publisher. This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

American Journal of Ophthalmology