Fall-related eye injury among older adults in the United States


Halawa O, Mitchell W, Zebardast N. Fall-related eye injury among older adults in the United States. Am J Ophthalmol 2021;

Date Published:

2021 Apr 10


PURPOSE: To identify common causes of emergency department-treated eye injury among older adults in the United States (US), and to characterize of fall-related ocular trauma in this population. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study METHODS: Data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, a nationally representative database of US emergency department-treated injuries, was used to assemble a cohort of adults 65 years and older with eye injuries between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2019. Demographic information, diagnosis, disposition, injury location and consumer product associated with injury were collected. Narrative descriptions of all injuries were reviewed to identify eye injuries secondary to falls. RESULTS: 4,953 eye injuries among older adults were reported from 2000 to 2019, a stratified probability sample representing approximately 238,162 injuries, with an average annual frequency of 12,000 injuries. Falls accounted for 11.5% of these injuries. Fall-related eye injuries commonly presented from home (66.5%) and were more likely to occur in the winter than eye injuries from other causes (28.1% vs. 18.4%, p<0.01). Risk factors for fall-related eye injury included older age (Odds ratio [OR] 1.11, 95% confidence intervals [CI] 1.10-1.13 per year), female sex (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.6-3.1 vs. male), Black race (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.3-4.5 vs. White) and presentation from a nursing home (OR 12.7, 95% CI 4.9-32.8 vs. other locations). Older adults with fall-related injury were more likely to be hospitalized (OR 22.8, 95% CI 15.3-33.9) and to suffer from a ruptured globe (OR 14.1, 95% CI 6.5-30.6) than those with fall-unrelated injury. CONCLUSIONS: Falls are an important mechanism of ocular trauma in older adults and are associated with worse outcomes compared to eye injuries from other causes.

Last updated on 05/01/2021