Eye-patch aside, there’s nothing really fun about an eye injury. And plenty we can do to prevent them from ever happening. What exactly to look out for when it comes to eye safety may depend on your age, however, according to new research presented Sunday at the 119th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO 2015).

The study authors compiled data on almost 47,000 hospital-treated eye injuries, or ocular traumas, from 2002 to 2011 in order to better grasp the risk factors and causes behind them. They found that the majority of injuries were the result of either a fight or a fall, with a significant generational gap in their prevalence. Of the 8,425 falls documented, the majority happened to those over the age of 60; whereas the nearly 8,000 assaults were most likely to occur among the 10 to 59 age bracket. Third, but certainly not least, on the leading causes of eye injury was being involved in a car crash.

Whether young or old, though, the most common trend among eye injuries is their rising price tag, with the researchers finding that the median cost of an eye-related hospitalization has soared from $12,430 in 2002 to $20,116 in 2011 (after controlling for inflation), despite the fact that the average length of stay has actually decreased slightly.

"While we have some clues, we still can't be certain why it's more expensive to get treated for an eye injury now than before," said lead author Dr. Christina Prescott, an ophthalmology professor at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University, in a statement . "It could be related to drug prices or administrative costs. Either way, it's clear we need more targeted interventions to help reduce these types of injuries, many of which are preventable."

For falls, a simple slip was the most commonly reported cause of almost 3,000 injuries, with stairs being the cause of nearly 900 accidents (over 3,000 falls were unspecified). Unarmed fights were the most likely type of assault reported, followed by being struck by an object. And though relatively far down the list, there were nearly 800 sports-related eye injuries, particularly among children ages 10 to 19.

While the rising price of an eye injury lines up well with the overall uptick in health care costs, Prescott and her team at John Hopkins hope to zero in on the specific factors behind it in further research. “To determine the possible reason for this increase in hospital cost among ocular trauma patients, we plan to analyze the billing records of our hospital’s ocular trauma patients, during the same time period (2002 to 2011) to determine which costs increased, which decreased, and which remained stable,” they wrote.

According to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were about 2.5 million eye-related visits to the emergency room made annually in the US from 2007 to 2010, with 37.6 visits per 10,000 persons related to injury.

Source: Qadi M, Wang J, Scott A, Prescott C. Economic Trends in Eye-Related Hospitalizations. AAO 2015. 2015.