Ocular injury in the United States: Emergency department visits from 2006–2011

Document Type



General Surgery


Introduction: Ocular complaints represent a sizeable burden to emergency departments, accounting for an estimated 2.4 million ED visits annually. We sought to characterise visits associated with ocular injury and examine factors contributing to inpatient admission.
Methods: We searched the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample between 2006 and 2011 and identified cases in which patients presented with a primary or secondary diagnosis of ocular trauma. We described these cases according to age, sex, external mechanism of injury, payer status, and identified relationships between these variables. Logistic regression models were employed to identify crude and adjusted relative odds of admission to inpatient status based on patient demographics, mechanism of injury, payer status, and the existence of multiple injuries.
Results: Between 2006 and 2011, a total of 5541,434 visits were made to EDs in the United States with a primary or other diagnosis of ocular trauma; ocular trauma was the primary diagnosis in 77.9% of these cases. Overall, mean age at presentation was 33.8 years and the majority of patients were male (64.8%). Male sex, older age, being struck by or against an object, the existence of multiple injuries, and Medicaid as a primary payer were all associated with significantly higher odds of hospital admission.
Discussion: The distribution of primary external mechanism of injury suggested that individuals are at higher risks for different injury types at each successive stage of life. Age and injury mechanism were correlated with odds of admission to inpatient status, with the highest odds among older adults who had been injured by being struck by or against an object.
Conclusions: Ocular injury plays a substantial role in the ED. Further work is necessary to determine whether developing and implementing age- and sex-appropriate prevention strategies could reduce the incidence of ocular injury and reduce morbidity related to these types of injuries


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University

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