Utilization of emergency ophthalmology services in Taiwan: a nationwide population study

Min-Huei Hsu, Chia-An Hsu, Sheng-Huang Hsiao, Dachen Chu, Ju-Chuan Yen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to conduct a nationwide survey of the use of emergency ophthalmology services using a sub-dataset of one million beneficiaries sampled from Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) for the years 2008 through 2012. By analyzing this population dataset, the study illustrates the disease landscape of emergency eye care services. The five-year, one-million-person NHIRD sub-dataset for 2008 through 2012 was used to explore emergency visits and ophthalmology specialty visits and to analyze the associated demographics and diagnosis codes based on the International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM). Diagnoses were categorized into three groups: urgent, non-urgent, and intermediate. A total of 2454 emergency eye care visits were identified. The mean age of the patients who made these visits was 34.6 years old, and their sex ratio was 1.36 men to women. The percentages of urgent, non-urgent, and intermediate eye care visits in this study were 48.2%, 30.9%, and 20.9%, respectively. The leading diagnoses in the urgent category were corneal abrasions, foreign bodies in the eyes, eye burns, and blunt eye injuries. The leading diagnoses for the non-urgent visits were conjunctivitis, subconjunctival hemorrhages, trichiasis, and dry eye disease. Those for the intermediate category were superficial punctate keratitis, corneal opacity and degeneration, and lid, orbital, and lacrimal drainage infections. The urgent visit category accounted for nearly half of all the visits identified in this study. Compared to outpatient department visitors, the emergency ophthalmology service patients were younger and more predominantly male. These results were consistent with those of previous reports. Low copays have made emergency ophthalmology services highly accessible in Taiwan. However, future policies can be designed to more effectively allocate resources to urgent cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17703
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 19 2020


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Emergency Service, Hospital/statistics & numerical data
  • Eye Diseases/therapy
  • Eye Injuries/therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insurance Claim Review
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmology
  • Population Surveillance
  • Taiwan
  • Utilization Review


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