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Weather Patterns and the Frequency of Ophthalmology Consultations in the Emergency Setting.

PURPOSE: To determine if weather patterns are associated with the frequency of ophthalmology consultations in the Emergency Room (ER) and trauma settings.

METHODS: Hospital-based ophthalmology consultations between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2020 at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) were included in the BALCITE (BALtimore Consultation, Inpatient, and Trauma of the Eye) database. Encounters were filtered to the general ER, the R. Crowley Adams Shock Trauma Center, and consultations within 24 h of admission where a delay was attributed to bed assignment. Weather data from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) for Baltimore, Maryland, was matched to the day of the initial encounter.

RESULTS: A total of 3,877 patients were included. Overall, there was a significant association between increasing daily average temperature ( R 2 = .152, p  = 0.0003) and daily maximum temperature ( R 2 = .243, p  < 0.001) with incidence of ophthalmology consultations. There was no significant decrease in consultations with increasing precipitation ( R 2 = -.007, p  = 0.7477). For trauma-related consultations, there was not a significant association between consultation incidence and average daily temperature ( R 2 = .011, p  = 0.2013), maximum daily temperature ( R 2 = -0.012, p  = 0.6529), or precipitation levels ( R 2 = .075, p  = 0.24). The months with the highest consultation volume were September, August, and July, and the lowest numbers in April, March, and February.

CONCLUSIONS: Emergency ophthalmology consultations increased with increasing daily temperature. Trauma-specific consultations did not show a significant association with weather patterns. This information may prove useful to ER providers and ophthalmologists in order to help predict frequency of consultations and better deploy personnel and resources.

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