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Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2013 Mar;251(3):645-51. doi: 10.1007/s00417-012-2004-x. Epub 2012 Apr 12.

Eye injuries in the elderly from consumer products in the United States: 2001-2007.

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  • 1Section of Ophthalmology, VA Medical Center, 830 Chalkstone Ave, Providence, RI 02908, USA.



To quantify and characterize eye injuries related to consumer products in elderly patients (≥ 65) treated in United States (US) hospital emergency departments (EDs) in 2001-2007.


Retrospective study.


The study comprised 1,455 patient cases.


Descriptive analysis of consumer-product (CP)-related eye injury data derived from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, a probability sample of 100 hospitals nationwide with 24-hour EDs. Narrative data was used to assign each case with the CP causing the eye injury, correcting for cases with misclassified CP codes. The proportions of eye injury visits were calculated by age, gender, diagnosis, disposition, locale of incident, and CP categories. The patient population included ocular injuries of all severity levels. We examined data for all non-fatal eye injuries in elderly patients (≥ 65) treated in US EDs in 2001-2007.


Age, gender, diagnosis, case disposition, locale of incident, CP causing the injury.


There were an estimated 67,864 visits to United States EDs by patients >65 years for CP-related eye injuries during the study period, of which 64 % (43,105; 95 % confidence interval [CI], 40,739-45,472) were by males; 70 % (CI, 44,837-49,496) occurred at home. Chemicals (22 %; 15,236; CI, 13,482-16,989), followed by cutting tools/construction (21 %; 14,524; CI, 12,777-16,272), furniture (15 %; 10,145; CI, 8,724-11,566), and gardening (14 %; 9,467; CI, 8,021-10,912) were the most common causes of eye injury. The CP categories with the greatest proportion of preventable injuries were cutting tools/construction (90 %), gardening (88 %), and household tools (71 %). Contusions or abrasions (39 %; 26,968; CI, 24,850-29,086) were the most common diagnoses.


This study suggests that most CP-related elderly eye injuries in the U.S. occur at home and in men. Chemicals are the most common cause of injury. Further research is needed to determine effective strategies to minimize CP-related eye injuries in the elderly.

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