Epidemiology of ophthalmic trauma in the United States from 2009–2018: A Nationwide Emergency Department Sample Analysis

Mustafa Iftikhar, Joseph K. Canner, Asad Latif, Syed M.A. Shah, Grant A. Justin, Fasika A. Woreta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To determine the incidence, characteristics, disposition, and economic burden of emergency department (ED) visits for ophthalmic trauma in the United States (US). Design: Retrospective study. Methods: The Nationwide Emergency Department Sample was used to calculate and characterize ED visits for ophthalmic trauma in the US from 2009 to 2018. Linear regression was used to estimate trends in annual incidence and mean inflation-adjusted ED charges. Logistic regression was used to assess variables associated with inpatient admission. Results: There were over 7.3 million ED visits for ophthalmic trauma in the US over the 10 years, with an annual incidence of 233 per 100,000 population. Patients were predominantly male (65 %), 21–44 years old (39 %), and from low-income households (56 %). Only 1 % of patients were hospitalized. Older age, male sex, metropolitan teaching hospitals, and trauma centers were associated with significantly higher odds of inpatient admission. The mean inflation-adjusted ED charge per visit more than doubled over the decade ($1,333 to $3,187) with total charges exceeding $14 billion. Superficial injuries (44 %) and eyelid/orbit wounds (20 %) accounted for the majority of visits. Orbital floor fractures (4 %) and open globe injuries (2 %) accounted for a minority of visits but were responsible for most admissions (49 % and 29 %, respectively) and the highest mean ED charge ($7,157 and $6,808, respectively). Conclusions: Ophthalmic trauma represents an increasingly significant burden to EDs in the US. Preventive efforts should target young males from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Strategies to improve outpatient access and redirect non-urgent injuries may help alleviate costs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111209
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Emergency department
  • Emergency room
  • Epidemiology
  • Eye injuries
  • Eye trauma
  • Ocular trauma
  • Ophthalmic trauma
  • United States


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