Falls and brawls are the top reasons Americans sustained eye injuries between 2002 and 2011, report Johns Hopkins researchers at the 119th annual American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting. Out of nearly 47,000 patients up to age 80 who were diagnosed with eye trauma across the US in that time, falling alone accounts for 8,425 hospitalizations. Fights and various types of assault come in close second, responsible for nearly 8,000 hospitalizations. Because falls are primarily in those 60 and older, fighting is the leading cause of eye injuries among 10- to 59-year-olds. Most of the other causes are related to car accidents and being accidentally struck by something or someone—the latter listed as No. 1 for kids 10 and younger—though hot liquids and vapors, toxic substances, and a nonvenemous anthropod (likely spider) bite were also in the mix, reports Inverse.
"Unfortunately, some people do defer seeking treatment for injuries, even when they are severe, due to cost issues," says lead investigator Dr. Christina Prescott, citing a dramatic jump in cost in that decade alone. The median cost of treating eye injuries was $20,116 in 2011, up 62% even counting inflation from the $12,430 price tag in 2002. Prescott says she hopes the study will draw attention not only to the rising cost of treatment but to the fact that many of the injuries in the study are preventable to some degree. Safety glasses in particular are "vastly" underused by people working around the house or participating in sports, she adds. Staying out of fights will help, too. (Now you have to protect your eyes from this toy.)