Eye Trauma

Eye Trauma

Eye trauma can result from sports injuries, accidents, exposure to chemicals and  foreign objects in the eye. These include bruises, punctures and scratches and can  cause pain, swelling, redness and other symptoms. Some people see flashes of light  or have vision changes. Serious injuries to the eye may cause permanent vision loss.  Due to the delicate and compact nature of eyes, even seemingly trivial injuries may  have serious implications, which may be missed or overlooked at times, if not closely  examined by the trained eye of an Eye specialist.

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  • Pain and swelling: Your eye may hurt, especially when you try to open, close or move it. The eye may be sensitive to the touch. Swelling can affect the eyeball, eyelid or entire face.
  • Bruising and redness: Any part of the eye may appear red or bruised.
  • Vision changes: You may see floating black spots or flashes of light. In addition to eye floaters, you may notice blurry or double vision and other vision problems.
  • Problems with eye movement: You may not be able to move your eyes easily. One eye may move independently from the other.
  • Changes in eye appearance:The pupils may be different sizes or unusually large or small. One eye may protrude (stick out) from the eye socket more than the other one or look sunken.
  • Bleeding: The white part of the eye may look bright red, or you might see small red or black spots in the eye. A red eye can be a sign of an eye injury or several other health conditions.


  • Injury to the globe (eyeball ) .
  • Eyelid laceration (cut on the eyelid)- This is commonly caused by the bite of a pet or motor vehicle accident. Depending on the depth and extent of the injury, it may need to be taped, glued or sutured. Inadequate or inappropriate  treatment can lead to eyelid function being affected, leaving the eye  permanently open or closed or feeling gritty or watery. Sometimes it can  leave an unsightly scar on the face.
  • Injury to the naso lacrimal duct/ tear drainage system- Any part of the tear drainage system may be involved in the injury. Punctum and canaliculi are commonly affected in chemical injuries and superficial trauma. Lacrimal sac  and nasolacrimal duct are usually a part of more complex facial trauma. The  symptoms include watering, stickiness or discharge from the eye.
  • Orbital fractures- although the orbital rim is quite sturdy, the walls of the orbit are thin and amenable to fracture during trauma to the face. This is commonly seen when someone is boxed in the face with a fist or sports injury with a ball.  If there is any suspicion of bone injury, in-depth knowledge of the eyelid  anatomy and careful examination helps the Oculoplastic surgeon discuss the  options for the best possible outcome.
  • Lid Injury- A lid injury may result in not only making the eye look cosmetically unpleasant, any irregularity of the lid margin is also functionally damaging to the eye, as a lid with a defect may fail to cover the cornea fully and provide adequate lubrication. An oculoplastic surgeon repairs the injury in a way to make the lid as close to normal as possible.


If you or your child has an eye injury, call for help right away. Treatment depends on  the type and severity of the eye injury. Serious injuries may require surgery.

For minor eye injuries, treatment may include:

  • Cold compress: Ice packs reduce swelling and relieve pain.
  • Eye irrigation: Flush out chemicals and other irritants with clean water for about 15 minutes.
  • Eye Drops: Your provider may prescribe eye drops to help your eye heal.
  • Eye patch: By covering your eye, you’ll allow it to rest while it’s healing.


The outlook for people with eye injuries varies. Early evaluation by an eye doctor and  treatment can significantly improve the prognosis and help avoid permanent vision  loss. The outlook depends on several factors, including:

  • Amount of time before treatment
  • Severity of the injury
  • Type of eye injury

Call your doctor right away if you or your child has signs of an eye injury. Untreated,  many eye injuries can cause low vision, blindness and other eye problems.

If chemicals or other irritants are in the eye, flush the eye with clean water and call  your doctor. If a sharp object is stuck in the eye, don’t try to remove it. Seek care  immediately.