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What is Ocular/Orbital Trauma?

The eye is a delicate and sensitive organ. An injury to the eye from contact sports or a motor vehicle accident can often result in trauma to the orbit. The orbit is the bony cavity of the skull that surrounds and protects the eyeball and includes muscles and nerves attached to the eye. Orbital trauma may be associated with bruising and fracture of the orbital bone. If the trauma is severe, quick action needs to be taken to minimize the risk of long-term damage or vision impairment.

Orbital trauma can be broadly classified into two types:

  • Blunt force trauma: This type of trauma is more common in children. While at play, children may fall from a bicycle or engage in fistfights causing blunt force trauma which may break the bony orbit.
  • Penetrating and perforating trauma: This type of trauma is generally seen in adults and is one of the most severe forms of eye injuries. Motor vehicle accidents or accidents in the workplace involving sharp tools may cause irreparable damage to the eye.

Treatment options will depend on the particular injury sustained. The treatment goal is to restore function and preserve the aesthetics of the face.

Orbital traumas may lead to eye problems such as double vision, painful eye movement and dramatic alterations to the normal anatomy of the orbit leading to disfigurement. In a severe injury, when the eye cannot be saved, reconstructive surgery is employed to place a prosthetic eye.

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