There’s rarely good news about ocular trauma, so savor this: the cost of inpatient ocular trauma for patients in the United States has remained steady, and may even potentially be reduced by addressing associated disparities, according to an American Journal of Ophthalmology study.

The researchers reviewed data from hospital discharges between 2001 and 2014 to estimate changes in cost and adjust for inflation. The researchers also evaluated the factors associated with a cost in the highest segment ( >$13,000), including age, sex, race, income, primary payer, hospital location, size and type. The model was adjusted for year of admission, length of stay, type of trauma, comorbidities and the type and number of procedures performed.

The investigators reported that the total cost over that time period totaled $1.72 billion. The mean cost remained relatively constant, weighing in at $12,000 in 2001 to $11,000 in 2014, when adjusted for inflation. Not surprisingly, uninsured patients were more likely to incur high bills than insured patients. The same was true for patients in the highest income group compared with those in the lowest, and teaching hospitals compared with non-teaching institutions. A cost in the highest segment was also most likely to impact African Americans compared with Caucasians.

Iftikhar M, Latif A, Usmani B, et al. Trends and disparities in inpatient costs for eye trauma in the United States (2001-2014). Am J Ophthalmol. June 3, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].