Patient Characteristics in an Ophthalmology-only Emergency Room: Opportunities for Prevention in Eye Trauma

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Capstone Committee:

Benjamin Leiby (Chair)

Ann Murchison


Ocular trauma accounts for a significant percentage of medical expenses; understanding common causes and characteristics of patients with trauma can help form a foundation for local prevention efforts. This study explored the demographics of patients who seek care at Wills Eye Emergency Room (WEER) and described the types of trauma, etiologies, and factors associated with trauma to identify areas of preventable eye problems and possible targets for public health eye safety. Data was collected from a retrospective review of charts from patients seen at WEER from June 1, 2008- May 31, 2009. Relevant variables extracted included age, gender, race/ethnicity, date of service, chief complaint, type of trauma, best corrected visual acuity, and diagnoses. Trauma was classified into Violence, Work, Accident/Self-inflicted, Sports, and Other on the basis of chief complaint and physician’s history as recorded in the chart. Descriptive statistics (frequencies, ranges, mean, standard deviations) were calculated to summarize the sample’s characteristics and develop an epidemiologic profile of WEER’s patients. Association of categorical variables was assessed using Pearson’s Chi-squared test. Logistic regression was used to calculate adjusted estimates of association between presence of trauma and individual-level, clinical-level and system-level factors. Gender, Age, and Ethnicity were found to be statistically significant with change in ocular trauma rates. Males, those under 18, and Caucasians were found to have the highest rates of ocular trauma. Large number of the traumatic injuries were sports-related for younger patients and work-related for working-age, male, and Caucasian patients. Violence-related trauma accounted for a significant percentage of injuries in those under 26, females, and African-Americans groups. A large proportion of ocular trauma in elderly was due to falls. Potential interventions will be discussed that should significantly lower the number of ocular trauma incidents and result in lower economic costs, improved patient quality of life, and preservation of visual function.

Presentation: 28 minutes