The Association of Cardiovascular and Neurological Comorbidities in Geriatric Patients Sustaining Ocular Trauma

Clin Ophthalmol. 2023 Nov 14:17:3409-3417. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S434804. eCollection 2023.


Purpose: Falls are associated with ocular trauma in the elderly. However, it is unlikely for a fall to cause ocular injury unless there is a disruption in the protective maneuvers that shield the face. We suspect ocular injury may be an early indicator of systemic or neurologic degeneration. This study investigates the 5-year incidence of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases in older patients who sustained ocular or periorbital injuries.

Patients and methods: This was a retrospective cohort study. The study population included 141 patients over the age of 65 who sustained trauma to the eye, orbit, or eyelid between April 2011 and June 2016. The control population included 141 patients with a similar range of comorbidities who received cataract surgery during the same period. The study measured new diagnoses of various disorders during the 5-year period following presentation.

Results: There were a total of 180 females and 102 males in the study. The mean ages of the control and subject group were 76 and 81.8, respectively. Of our twelve tested comorbidity types, patients that suffered a periocular trauma were more likely to develop heart failure (p=0.00244), dementia (p=0.00002), Alzheimer's disease (p=0.00087), and vascular disease (p=0.00037).

Conclusion: Geriatric patients who sustained ocular and periocular injuries had a greater incidence of heart failure, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and atherosclerosis diagnoses in the 5-year period following injury. The findings of this study suggest that periocular trauma may be an early indicator of underlying degenerative or systemic disease. Ophthalmologists should ensure proper primary care follow-up in conjunction with recovery from injury.

Keywords: comorbidities; degenerative disease; eye injury; ocular injury.