Most Common Ophthalmic Diagnoses in Eye Emergency Departments: A Multicenter Study

Heba Mahjoub, Joseph Ssekasanvu, Yoshihiro Yonekawa, Grant A. Justin, Kara M. Cavuoto, Alice Lorch, Vrinda Madan, Ishwarya Sivakumar, Xiyu Zhao, Michael Quintero, Olivia Febles Simeon, Mirataollah Salabati, Connie M. Wu, Fasika A. Woreta*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To characterize the most common ophthalmic conditions seen in the emergency department (ED) Design: Cross-sectional study Methods: This is a multicenter study of 64,988 patients who visited the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Wills Eye Hospital, and Johns Hopkins Hospital/Wilmer Eye Institute from January 1, 2019, until December 31, 2019. Demographic and primary diagnosis data were extracted including gender, age, race, ethnicity, insurance type, and ophthalmology consult status. Descriptive statistics were performed on all data using STATA IC 14 (64-bit). Results: A total of 64,988 patients with primary ocular diagnoses were seen across all 4 EDs. The majority of patients were White (63.1%), non-Hispanic/Latino (64.8%), and female (52.3%). The most frequently seen age group was 50-64 years (28.6%). The most common diagnoses across all institutions were conjunctivitis (7.91%), corneal abrasions (5.61%), dry eye (4.49%), posterior vitreous detachments (4.15%), chalazions (3.71%), corneal ulcers (3.01%), subconjunctival hemorrhages (2.96%), corneal foreign bodies (2.94%), retinal detachments (2.51%), and glaucoma (2.12%). Specifically, viral conjunctivitis (2283 of 5139, 44.4%) and primary open-angle glaucoma (382 of 1379, 27.7%) were the most frequently seen subtypes of conjunctivitis and glaucoma. Conclusions: The most regularly treated ophthalmic conditions in high-volume EDs tend to be lower acuity diagnoses. To combat ED overcrowding and rising health care costs in the United States, we suggest diverting eye-related ED visits to a specialized eye ED service or same-day eye clinic appointment in addition to expanding education for patients and primary care clinicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-43
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology
StatePublished - Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Most Common Ophthalmic Diagnoses in Eye Emergency Departments: A Multicenter Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this