Eye injuries can come in a lot of different ways; with more serious eye trauma, a retina specialist experienced in handling complex trauma is often necessary to salvage your sight.
Types of Eye Injuries
If the eye is injured, but there is no tear or opening, then we use the term nonperforating injury.
Examples of nonperforating injuries can be cuts on the eyelid, or scratches on the cornea. Bleeding in the front of the eye is called a hyphema, and in the back part of the eye, is called a vitreous hemorrhage. With enough force, a traumatic cataract can occur.
In most cases, these injuries can be handled with medications, rest, and later on, sometimes surgery.
In some cases, trauma can cause a retinal tear, in which case a retina specialist can perform laser or cryotherapy. If there is a retinal detachment, a giant retinal tear, or retinal dialysis may be the cause.. Both of these cases require repair by a retina specialist experienced with complex ocular trauma. Typically, a vitrectomy and/or scleral buckle is required.
If the eye itself is torn open, then it is described as a penetrating, or ruptured globe. A ruptured globe can be sight threatening, and if not addressed promptly, can result in loss of the eye.
The first thing to do is to close the opening, which is usually done with sutures.
Many ruptured globes will require subsequent care by a retina specialist experienced in managing complex ocular trauma. Some retina specialists, including myself, have received extensive experience in managing sever ocular trauma because of our training at university-based regional trauma centers.
Causes of Eye Injuries
Causes of ocular trauma come in many different forms, and can include getting hit by a ball, striking a hard surface, car accident, or fights. In many case, there is other bodily injury, so patients are transferred to a designated trauma center. A collaborative, team approach is therefore important.
Where to Go
I am on the medical staff of Florida Hospital, Winter Haven Hospital, Orlando Regional Medical Center and Lakeland Regional Medical Center– these last two hospitals are designated regional trauma centers. An operating room for repair of eye surgeries is therefore available 24 hours a day, 365 days/year. I am also on staff at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, so I am often called to assess children who are transferred with sight-threatening injuries; I am fortunate that at all three hospitals, an integrative, collaborative approach is in place to address any eye injury.