Fractured Eye Socket

Fractured Eye Socket

Iris Trauma

Fractured Eye Socket

Anyone who has been in a car accident knows the severity of these collisions can range from a simple scratch to major accidents that lead to serious injury or even fatalities. Many times, cars come to a sudden stop when they run into another vehicle or stationary object. While the body is strapped into the seat by the seat belt, the head is free to move in any direction. The momentum of the car will cause the head to continue moving after the car has come to an abrupt stop. If the head strikes the steering wheel or dashboard, this can lead to a fractured eye socket. While relatively uncommon, there are multiple fractures ranging in severity that can have significant medical consequences.

When a medical professional refers to the eye socket, they are referring to the bony structure that surrounds and protects the globe of the eye. This includes the white of the eye (the vitreous humor), the colored portion of the eye (the iris), and the pupil (the black part of the eye). This bony structure ranges in strength at different parts of the eye. The eye socket is as thin as a sheet of paper where it approaches the  nose. On the other hand, the eye socket is thick around the outside of the eye socket. This leads to several different types of eye socket fractures.

The most common form of a fractured eye socket we see in a car accident is an orbital rim fracture. This occurs when the head strikes the steering wheel or dashboard during a car accident. To fracture the orbital rim requires major trauma, such as that involving a car accident at high speeds. These eye socket fractures are usually accompanied by fractures of other facial bones as well.

Symptoms of fracture of the eye socket include development of a black eye along with swelling and severe pain. Other symptoms include trouble seeing due to double vision or blurry vision. Patients may have trouble looking in certain directions, including up, down, left, or right. Patients may also notice numbness in certain areas of their face as there may be nerve damage. Finally, people may complain of an asymmetry of the face due to damage to the bones that typically hold the structure of the face intact.

The diagnosis of an eye socket fracture will start with a physical exam. The physician will ask the patient to look in different directions to assess strength of muscles and nerves around the eye. The final diagnosis is made using a CT scan or X-Ray.

A fractured eye socket will ultimately require weeks to heal. Not all injuries require surgery, but most cases do. During this time, patients often take pain medicine and will always require protective eyewear to prevent any further damage to the vulnerable area. Many patients also require decongestant medication to keep the nasal passages clear.

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