SAEM Clinical Image Series: Traumatic Swollen Eye

A 53-year-old caucasian male with a history of alcohol and amphetamine abuse presents to the Emergency Department via ambulance immediately after sustaining a fist-blow injury to the right eye. The patient denies loss of consciousness and complains of eye pain with the inability to see.

Vitals: T 36.9°C; BP 181/119; HR 110

General: Alert and oriented; anxious; agitated

Ophthalmic:

OD:

  • Visual acuity – no light perception
  • Pupil 4mm, irregular shape, and fixed
  • Extraocular movement – none
  • Proptotic; Conjunctival prolapse; Subconjunctival hemorrhage
  • Anterior chamber hyphema
  • IOP 55 mmHg

OS:

  • Visual acuity – 20/20
  • Pupil 3mm round and reactive
  • Extraocular movement – intact
  • IOP 12 mmHg

Non-contributory

A lateral canthotomy and cantholysis.

This procedure is easily performed at the bedside in the ED and the transected lateral canthal tendon and inferior/superior crus can be repaired during the repair of the presenting injury. Patients report improvements in pain and sometimes vision in as little as 10 minutes after the procedure.

A CT should be ordered after performing a lateral canthotomy and cantholysis to minimize the complications associated with elevated retrobulbar pressure including ischemia and permanent loss of vision. This photograph depicts a patient who presented to the ED suffering from the effects of orbital compartment syndrome (OCS) after being punched in the eye. OCS can develop from as little as 7mL of fluid accumulation in the retro-orbital space and can rapidly lead to permanent blindness if ischemia is present for more than 100 minutes. Symptoms of OCS requiring immediate lateral canthotomy and cantholysis include: proptosis, increased intraocular pressure, Marcus-Gunn pupil, decreased acuity, or restricted ocular movements. Importantly, OCS is a clinical diagnosis, and treatment of this condition should not be delayed for further testing or diagnostic workup. While treatment may not result in the return of vision, there are many case reports of patients regaining full or partial vision up to two hours after the onset of symptoms.

Take-Home Points

  • Don’t delay! Quick action can save your patient’s vision.
  • Signs of OCS requiring immediate bedside surgical intervention include:
    • Proptosis
    • Increased intraocular pressure
    • Marcus-Gunn pupil
    • Decreased visual acuity
    • Restricted ocular movements
  1. Rowh AD, Ufberg JW, Chan TC, Vilke GM, Harrigan RA. Lateral canthotomy and cantholysis: emergency management of orbital compartment syndrome. J Emerg Med. 2015 Mar;48(3):325-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2014.11.002. Epub 2014 Dec 16. PMID: 25524455.
  2. Jaksha AF,Justin GA, Davies BW, Ryan DS, Weichel ED, Colyer MH. Lateral Canthotomy and Cantholysis in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom: 2001-2011. Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. 2019 Jan/Feb;35(1):62-66. doi: 10.1097/IOP.0000000000001168. PMID: 29979268.

 

 

By |2021-09-08T11:14:28-07:00Sep 20, 2021|Ophthalmology, SAEM Clinical Images|

SAEM Clinical Image Series: Eye Pain After Assault

carotid cavernous fistula

A 33-year-old male presents with intermittent blurry vision and left eye pain for 3 months, and a left-sided orbital headache for 1 day. He reports getting punched in the left side of the head during an altercation a few months ago. The eye pain is worse with ocular movements and is associated with bilateral conjunctival injection and white/green discharge from the left eye.

The patient was seen at another emergency department 3 months prior for the same symptoms. He was then found to have left-sided proptosis, visual acuity 20/60 in the left eye, no fluorescein uptake, and a normal fundoscopic exam. The patient was instructed to follow up with ophthalmology but did not. The patient denies fevers, chills, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

 

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SAEM Clinical Image Series: Eye Injury

eye

An 11-year-old male presented to a pediatric trauma center following a motor vehicle collision (MVC). He was the restrained front-seat passenger when his vehicle was struck head-on, causing frontal airbag deployment. His primary complaint was pain around his right eye with associated blurry vision. He denied diplopia, pain with extraocular movements, flashers, floaters, or curtains in his vision.

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SAEM Clinical Image Series: Atraumatic Proptosis

An 85-year-old female with a past history of hypertension presents with acute right-eye pain, redness, and proptosis/bulging for the past two months that has been worsening over the past two days. She endorses blurry vision that began two days prior. She does not use contacts or glasses. No trauma, headache, or loss of consciousness are reported. She reports a “whooshing” sound in her right ear for two to three months.

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Gaining the Diagnosis of Vitreous Hemorrhage with Ultrasound

A 54 year-old male presents to the emergency department with an eye complaint. The patient works as a cook and while cleaning the grill several hours ago felt something fly into his eye. He did not immediately feel pain, but notes blurred vision and an increasing pressure-like sensation in his left eye. He describes his left-sided blurred vision as a haziness, like cobwebs over his eye. He has been able to open his eye and keep it open without difficulty.

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By |2020-01-29T15:55:48-08:00Jan 31, 2020|Ophthalmology, Ultrasound|

SAEM Clinical Image Series: Eye Trauma and Vision Loss

globe rupture open globe

The patient is a 44-year-old male with a past history of end stage renal disease on hemodialysis, diabetes, and hypertension who presents with acute visual loss after assault 2 hours prior. He was struck in the eye by his partner’s fist (adorned with a large ring), but denies severe pain. He does endorses instant difficulty with his vision. There is no use of contacts or glasses. No other injuries, headache, or loss of consciousness are reported.

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By |2019-11-10T21:42:57-08:00Oct 21, 2019|Ophthalmology, SAEM Clinical Images, Trauma|
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