ED Visits for Eye Trauma Costlier Over Time

Emergency department (ED) visits for eye trauma in the United States are becoming more expensive to treat, according to a poster presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology 2020 Virtual meeting presented by Mustafa Iftikhar, MBBS, of Wilmer Eye Institute, and colleagues.

The researchers conducted a retrospective, cross-sectional study looking at Nationwide Emergency Department Sample to calculate and characterize ED visits with a primary diagnosis of eye trauma from 2009 to 2014. Outcome measures included incidence, demographics, clinical characteristics, disposition, and inflation-adjusted ED charges.

During the study period there were 3.9 million ED visits with an annual incidence of 208 per 100,000 population. The average age of patients was 33 years and the majority were male (66%). About one-quarter (22%) of patients were on Medicaid with another 19% self-paying.

The most common injuries resulting in in-patient admission were orbital fracture (46%), open wound of eye (28%), open wound of adnexa (12%), contusion (10%), burns (2%) and superficial injury (2%).

Mean inflation-adjusted ED charge per visit increased by 27% from $1,411 to $1,786 (P=.005). Total charges were $5.2 billion. The most expensive injuries to treat were orbital injury, with a mean charge per visit of $5,580, and open globe, with a mean charge of $5,512.

“ED visits for eye trauma are becoming costlier over time,” the researchers  concluded on their poster. “Public health efforts for eye trauma prevention will be crucial to mitigating their burden on the U.S. healthcare system.”

This study was designated a “Best Poster” by AAO 2020 Virtual meeting organizers.