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Traumatic Eye Injury

Updated on July 5, 2020

Traumatic Eye Injury

The eyes are possibly the most important of the five human senses, as they are the ones that allow people to have the ability to see and perceive everything around them. For this reason, it is extremely important to make sure that they are protected and also that they have an appropriate check-up every certain period of time. But accidents can also happen, and it is important that people know what to do in case of a traumatic eye injury. There are multiple cases where people who had no knowledge of how to treat an eye injury have only made it worse, so with the right information, people can know what to expect and how to handle this kind of situation, not only for themselves but also in case that someone is injured in their presence. Traumatic eye injuries are described as physical or chemical wounds caused to the eye or eye socket. This is more common when there is something scratching the eye, although exposing the eye to toxic chemicals or major trauma can cause even more severe injuries. And there are also multiple ways to make sure that the eye gets the immediate treatment it needs in order to avoid the permanent vision loss or the loss of the affected eye in any way.

Penetrating Ocular Trauma

This kind of injury can be the cause of severe vision loss, and even the loss of the affected eye in the worst cases. They are caused by sharp objects or objects approaching at a very high speed, these usually penetrate the eye but there is no exit wound. There are signs and symptoms that people need to look out for in case of any eye injury:

  • Signs: subconjunctival hemorrhage, shallow or flat anterior chamber, hyphema, iris deformities, lens disruption, or posterior segment findings such as vitreous hemorrhage, retinal tears, retinal hemorrhage.
  • Symptoms: the main symptom for this kind of injury is pain and double vision on the affected eye. And in more subtle cases, foreign body sensation, where they feel as if something does not belong in their bodies; or blurred vision are the main symptoms.

As there is a physical object involved, these injuries are treated with surgery:

The ocular globe should be explored first in the affected eye with a vitrectomy, this process is performed in case there is a vitreous hemorrhage with an intraocular foreign body or retinal detachment present within the eye. Otherwise, a closure of the glove is executed and then the eye is monitored closely with periodic exams and ultrasounds until the doctor is sure that the hemorrhage is gone or there is any evidence of retinal traction or detachment. In the case in which the vitreous cavity has been affected, a pars plana vitrectomy is performed in order to keep the retina from detaching while the examination of the vitreous is executed.

Chemical Eye Injury

Chemical, also known as alkali and acid, eye injury is considered a real eye injury and needs to be examined and treated urgently by a professional as soon as possible. These injuries can cause great damage to the surface of the eye and the anterior segment, which leads to the loss of vision or the affected eye. Making sure that the injury is treated and taken care of early has a better result to protect the person from losing their vision. There are symptoms that can determine if there is damage to the eye:

  • Symptoms: The most common symptoms are severe pain, epiphora, blepharospasm, and reduced visual acuity.

The treatments for this can be through multiple options, which are:

Standard treatments: these are used when an injury is not too severe and it can be treated with a lot more ease, and using less intense treatments.

  • Antibiotics.
  • Cyclopegic agents.
  • Steroid drops.
  • Ascorbic acid.
  • Doxycycline.
  • Citrate drops.
  • 1% medroxyprogesterone.
  • Platelet rich plasma eye drop.

Surgical treatments: these treatments are used for the highly severe injuries and the ones that need a more intense level of medication and intervention in order to avoid the loss of an affected eye.

  • Debridement of necrotic epithelium.
  • Amniotic membrane transplantation (AMT).
  • Limbals stem cell transplantation.
  • Cultivated oral mucosal epithelial transplantation (COMET).
  • Boston keratoprosthesis.

In case that someone gets hurt and suffers what seems to be a physical or chemical eye injury, it is important that the person knows to keep calm and not make any contact with their eyes in order to keep from making the wound any worse, as it has been known to happen in the past. The next step would be to communicate with an emergency line if they do not have someone around and cannot make it to a hospital, they will be immediately connected to an emergency telecommunicator.

The role of an emergency telecommunicator is to gather the important information from the callers and dispatch the correct team of first responders to the scene where the caller is, relaying the necessary information so the responders know what to expect and how to react once they reach the scene. In cases where people have vision loss or any form of eye injury, it is important that the E.T. is capable of keeping calm and make sure that the caller knows that help is on the way so that they do not injure themselves further by trying to find help on their own.

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Michael Omolo


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