Hospitalization rates of children who are blind

J.M. Crewe, Geoffrey Lam, A. Clark, K. Spilsbury, A.S. Mukhtar, Nigel Morlet, William H. Morgan, M. Crowley, J.B. Semmens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: To evaluate the impact of blindness on hospitalization rates of children.
Design: Matched cohort study. Participants: Children confirmed as legally blind (2003-2009), age- and gender-matched to control cohort of normally sighted children from the state register of births.
Methods: The rates and reasons for admission to hospital were compared using hospital morbidity records. The association of blindness with rates of admission and length of stay in hospital, 2003-2010, were estimated using multivariate negative binomial regression models.
Main Outcome Measures: Descriptive statistics, incident rate ratios, and predicted means for hospital separations and length of stay.
Results: Fifty-nine blind and 59 control children had a combined total of 107 separations accounting for 237 bed days in hospital after the index date of legal blindness. The median age at the index date was 8 years. Over 90% of separations and 92% of bed days were incurred by 22 blind children. Blind children had four (95% confidence interval 1.9-9.3) times more hospital separations and stayed in hospital six (95% confidence interval 1.9-17.5) times longer than the control cohort children. There were more than 40 times as many comorbidities recorded by the blind children (n=201) compared with the control children (n=5). A third of the blind children were hospitalized for respiratory conditions.
Conclusions: Children who are born or become blind in childhood have more and longer periods in hospital than sighted children likely because of complex comorbid health problems. There was a disproportionate incidence of comorbid respiratory diseases in the blind children. © 2013 Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-778
JournalClinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number8
Early online date11 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


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