Topic outline

  • Ocular Trauma


    Trauma is no good anywhere in the body, but it poses a particular threat when it happens to the eyes and their supporting structures. Anything that puts a patient's ability to see at risk should be considered a significant threat, several different types of ocular trauma can in fact damage a patient's sight.

    We begin this module by discussing damage to the bony structure supporting the eye, the orbit. We learn how certain areas of the orbit are particularly prone to fracture and we look in greater detail at ways to detect an orbital fracture when a patient has suffered head trauma.

    Next, we move on to learning about damage to the eyelids and the skin surrounding the eyes. The presentations of sharp versus blunt trauma are unique and the risks posed by infections in this region are significant.

    We then move on to a review of surface damage to the eye including corneal abrasions. These types of injury are both painful and present a direct risk of harming vision by introducing different types of visual obstruction.

    Finally, we discuss the implications of significant damage to the globe (eyeball) itself. While we often think of it as an extremely delicate structure, the eyeball is somewhat sturdy so trauma which causes it to rupture must be significant. This poses an immediate and emergency threat to vision and should addressed as quickly as possible.

    Sight is such an integral part of daily life. It's important that we take reports of head trauma seriously and carefully examine our patients for signs of ocular trauma. Let's learn more about how to make these critical diagnoses.

    Issue Date: 08/01/2020