Utilization of Ophthalmology-Specific Emergency Department Services

Jayanth Sridhar, Ryan F. Isom, Joyce C. Schiffman, Luz Ajuria, Laura C. Huang, Daniel Gologorsky, James T. Banta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe utilization trends of an ophthalmology-specific emergency department (ED). Methods: Prospective cohort study of new patients presenting in the ophthalmology ED for at least a 30-day period in the spring of each year for five consecutive years (2010–14) at a university referral center. A data form, including information about the ED visit and patient demographics, was included in each patient chart. Data were analyzed with Pearson chi-square test and multiple logistic regression. Results: A total of 5323 chart data forms were completed. An average of 42.2 new patients per day presented to the ophthalmology ED. Most common diagnoses were viral conjunctivitis (8.7%), dry eye syndrome (6.6%), and corneal abrasion (6.6%). Non-emergent visits accounted for 35.8% of surveys completed. Factors associated with non-emergent visits included female gender, age 65 years or older, weekday visits, and patient symptom duration greater than one week (p < 0.0001 for each factor). When compared to all other insurance categories combined, patients who were members of the regional public assistance program were the most likely to present with a non-emergency (48.5% versus 34.9%, p < 0.001), while Workers’ Compensation patients were least likely to present with a non-emergency (16% versus 36.5%, p < 0.001). Conclusions: Over one-third of new patient visits were non-emergent. Factors predictive of non-emergent patient visits were female gender, age 65 years or older, duration of symptoms greater than one week, weekday visits, and the form of insurance coverage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-190
Number of pages6
JournalSeminars in Ophthalmology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 17 2018


  • Conjunctivitis
  • eye emergency
  • foreign body
  • ophthalmic emergency
  • utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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