Ocular trauma is a physical or chemical injury to the eye or eye socket. Most commonly, it is the result of something scratching the eye, a blow to the eye or something penetrating the eye. The trauma can affect the eye and the tissue surrounding the eye.
Trauma can cause inflammation or bleeding inside the eye, which can increase pressure within the eye and cause vision problems.
Signs and symptoms of ocular trauma may include:
- Vision problems
- An eye that does not move well
- An eye that protrudes
- Blood in the clear part of the eye
- Usual pupil size or shape
- Something embedded in the eye
- Cuts to the eyelid
Treatment for Ocular Trauma
Ocular trauma can be serious. In fact, it is the second leading cause of visual impairment in the United States. Even in cases where the trauma seems minor, every eye injury should receive medical attention. Blunt or penetrating ocular trauma can potentially lead to cataracts, glaucoma and other conditions that result in vision loss immediately after the trauma or years later.
Individuals who have suffered an eye injury should avoid touching or rubbing their eye, and should not try to remove any object from the eye. In cases of a visible cut or object in the eye, the patient should rest a paper cup or other protective shield over – but not touching – the eye. This person should seek medical help immediately.
The doctor will assess damage to the eye, perform a visual acuity check to determine how well the patient can see, evaluate how quickly the pupils react, and measure the intraocular pressure of fluid inside the eye. Other tests determine the extent of any damage caused by ocular trauma.
Treatment for ocular trauma depends largely on the cause and severity of the injury. Treatment may include medications to reduce intraocular pressure, antibiotics, eye drops, pain medications, or surgery.