Open Globe Management

Alessandro A. Castellarin, MD; Dante J. Pieramici, MD


Compr Ophthalmol Update. 2007;8(5):111-124. 

In This Article

Epidemiology and Economic Impact

Today, in industrialized nations, eye injury has become the most frequent reason for hospitalization of ophthalmologic patients. Visual outcomes vary from full recovery to complete blindness, with physical and psychological loss and enormous costs to society. In the USA alone, there are approximately 2,000,000 eye injuries each year, and more than 40,000 result in permanent visual impairment. Eye injury is a leading cause of monocular blindness in the USA, and is second only to cataract as the most common cause of visual impairment.[1]

In Scotland, the cumulative incidence of ocular trauma requiring hospital admission is 8.14 per 100,000 of the population annually. Over 10% of these people will lose useful vision in the injured eye. The 1-year cumulative incidence of blinding outcome from serious ocular trauma was estimated to be 0.41 per 100,000 of the population per year.[2] In a retrospective study from Australia, the annual rate of eye injury was estimated to be 3.7 per 100,000 for open globe injuries and 11.8 per 100,000 in total (closed and open globe injuries).

The United States Eye Injury Registry (USEIR) was established in 1988 with the goals of collecting and documenting information on serious eye injuries. Other registries currently available for data collection are the World Eye Injury Registry (WEIR) and the Hungarian Eye Injury Registry (HEIR), each now affiliated with the USEIR. The USEIR estimates that 500,000 years of lost eyesight occur annually in the USA. Data from the USEIR show that age ranges from 0 to 103 years, with a mean age of 29 years and a median age of 26 years, with 57% of the patients usually < 30 years old, and 80% males. Black or Hispanic individuals in the USA are more at risk between the ages of 25 and 65 years. In addition, persons of lower socioeconomic and educational levels are more likely to be injured.[3,4] The National Safety Council estimates that job-related (approximately one-third of all eye injuries) eye trauma costs amount to at least $300,000 annually. This figure includes medical and hospital bills, workers’ compensation, and lost production time.


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