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Eyeglass Related Injury More Than Thought

Eyeglass-Related Injuries Treated in US Emergency Departments

Incidence of emergency room visits because of eyeglass injury are significant, with women more likely to suffer harm.


Abstract from Ophthalmic Epidemiology, 1 3:23-30,2006


An estimated 60% of Americans wear prescription eyeglasses. Despite the fact that eyeglasses pose a threat for injury, there is little research presenting national statistics of eyeglasses-related injuries.


The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System was used to analyze eyeglasses-related injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments (EDs) in 2002-2003. Eyeglasses-related injury cases were identified by the consumer product codes for eyeglasses and sunglasses and each case's narrative description was reviewed to identify the mechanism of injury. Cases (n = 642) were weighted to produce national estimates of eyeglasses-related injuries. Mechanism of injury, body region injured, injury diagnosis, and outcome of ED visit were analyzed by gender and age.


An estimated 27,152 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 21,627- 32,677) eyeglasses-related injuries were treated in U.S. ERs in 2002-2003. Overall, males and females were equally likely to sustain eyeglasses-related injuries (53.5Vo vs. 46.5%), but this distribution varied by age group. A significantly higher percentage of eyeglasses-related injuries due to falls occurred among persons aged 65 years or more (89.50/0, 95% CI: 83.5-93.5), whereas sports-related injuries were more common among persons aged 0-17 years (36.6010, 95% CI: 26.1-48.61. Eyeball injuries were significantly more prominent among persons aged 18-64 years. Overall, 3.8% (95% CI: 2.3-6.3) of eyeglasses-related injuries resulted in hospital admission.


Eyeglasses-related injuries in the U.S. demonstrate age and gender-specific characteristics. Safer eyeglasses design and the use of protective eyewear during sports activities and other activities with a high risk of ocular trauma will help prevent future eyeglasses-related injuries.

Xiang, MD, MPH, PhD, Coll. Med.
Public Health, The Ohio State
University, Center for Injury Res. &
Policy, Columbus Children's Res. Inst. &
Children's Hosp., 700 Children's Drive,
Columbus, OH 43205 USA.

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