Date Presented 04/21/2023

The study aims to inform the increased incidence of fall-related eye injuries in older adults. Vision is closely related to function in older adults; therefore, OT practitioners should provide in-home training to prevent fall risk and eye injuries.

Primary Author and Speaker: Yeonju Jin

Contributing Authors: Kimberly Herha, Ickpyo Hong

PURPOSE: Falls can happen to people of any age and for many reasons. Despite prevention efforts, unfortunately fall-related injuries and hospitalization rates are increasing each year. Eye injuries are one of the most common secondary problems caused by falls. Serious eye injuries can occur even with a low impact fall and have been associated with functional decline due to vision loss. The aims of this study are to examine trends among fall-related eye injuries and compare the risk factors between working-age adults and older adults.

DESIGN: A retrospective cohort in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System dataset. We were interested in two groups: working-age adults (19-64 years) and older adults (65 years and older), who had fall-related eye injuries.

METHOD: We used to Cochran Armitage trend test to determine the fall-related eye injuries trend from 2012 to 2021. The association between fall-related eye injuries, demographics and accident-related environments were analyzed using multivariable logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS: N=27,598. The incidence rate of fall-related eye injuries was higher in the older adults (n = 496, 16.5%) than in the working-age adults (n = 1,472, 6%). Over consecutive years, the number of older adults experiencing fall-related eye injuries increased significantly (p = 0.0033) from 2012 (n = 31, 12.4%) to 2021 (n = 73, 20.7%). The highest odds ratios found among all of the reported reasons for the fall-related eye injuries were an accident with home structures (Odds Ratio [OR] = 12.64, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 9.98-16.01) and an accident with home furnishings (OR = 11.3, 95% CI = 8.9-14.35).

CONCLUSION: The study findings will inform the cause of fall-related eye injuries was related to home structures and home furnishings. Therefore, home OT therapy services should be leading efforts to provide education for older adults living at home, to improve eye safety and decrease fall risk.


Chen, A., Canner, J. K., Zafar, S., Ramulu, P. Y., Shields, W. C., Iftikhar, M., ... Woreta, F. A. (2022). Characteristics of ophthalmic trauma in fall-related hospitalizations in the United States from 2000 to 2017. Ophthalmic Epidemiology, 29(2), 206–215.

Lee, W. S., McNamara, P., English, J., & Meusemann, R. (2020). Ocular trauma associated with falls in older people: A 10-year review from a state trauma service. Injury, 51(9), 2009–2015.

Orces, C. H., & Alamgir, H. (2014). Trends in fall-related injuries among older adults treated in emergency departments in the USA. Injury Prevention. 20(6), 421–423.

National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine. Making Eye Health a Population Health Imperative. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2016.