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Study links senior falls to increase in hospitalizations for eye injuries

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Baltimore – A rising number of falls among older people have contributed to an increase in the number of eye injuries that require hospitalization, according to a study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Analyzing 2001-2014 data from the National Inpatient Sample, a representative sample of all U.S. community hospital discharges, researchers found that an estimated 939,608 inpatient admissions involved eye trauma. Of those, 82.9 percent listed eye trauma as a secondary diagnosis. During the study period, secondary diagnoses of eye trauma increased to 19 per 100,000 people from 14.5.

“This was largely attributed to an increasing number of falls in individuals older than 65 years,” the study states.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year more than 800,000 patients are hospitalized for fall-related injuries. Additionally, 3 million older people are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries each year.

The researchers recommend the development and implementation of effective fall prevention strategies. Many of these patients are seen in ophthalmology practices, which can provide important counseling and proactive risk assessments, the study states.

The study was published Oct. 4 in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.

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