A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Ophthalmology discovered that the number of people hospitalized with eye injuries increased 18 percent in 13 years. The team that conducted the study believes the increase is due to falls among elderly people, and that limited vision from common vision disorders may be to blame.
Read on as Dr. Ernest Kornmehl of Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates breaks down the study and shares tips to reduce your risk and your loved ones’ risk of suffering a devastating fall.
Number of Patients Hospitalized with Eye Injuries Increases 31 Percent in 13 Years
A joint team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pittsburgh analyzed 13 years’ worth of data from the National Inpatient Sample, a publicly available inpatient health care database that yields national estimates of hospital stays.
Nearly 1 million hospital inpatient admissions had an eye injury. The number of people hospitalized because of an eye injury decreased but the number of people hospitalized for another reason who also suffered an eye injury increased by 31 percent.
The research team sought to determine the characteristics and causes of eye trauma admissions. The most frequent diagnosis for patients admitted for eye injury was orbital fracture, or an injury to the bone of the eye socket. Among patients hospitalized for another reason who also had an eye injury, the most frequent diagnoses were black eye and damage to the eyelids and tear glands.
Researchers believe 82 percent of this increase in eye injuries could be attributed to an increase in falls among elderly adults. They claimed that limited vision could have played a part in the falls. Not being able to see a clear walking path or identify a possible hazard makes it more likely to misstep or fall and suffer an injury.
Reduce Your Risk of a Fall
You might be wondering what you can take away from this study. Dr. Kornmehl encourages you to be proactive about your eye health so you can maintain clear vision and reduce your risk of falls.
If you are 65 or older, you should have annual comprehensive eye exams. During a comprehensive eye exam, Dr. Kornmehl can ensure your glasses prescription is up to date and look for signs of problems that can affect your vision (e.g., cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma) by dilating your pupils using eye drops.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, you should also do the following to reduce your risk of falling:
- Clear out clutter around your home and rearrange furniture so you have wide walking paths
- Keep your home brightly lit
- Use double-sided tape or a rug pad to keep small throw rugs in place
- Install grab bars in your bathroom in and around the tub and next to the toilet
- Stay active to keep up your strength and improve your balance
- Have your feet checked and get fitted for the proper footwear
Contact Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates
If you are experiencing low vision related to cataracts, glaucoma or another eye disease, Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates can help. Please contact us to request an appointment with Dr. Kornmehl and our team.