Ruptured Globe

A ruptured globe occurs when the eyeball is injured in a way that causes an opening in its surface. This can happen when something sharp punctures the eyeball, or when the eyeball is struck so hard that it breaks open. This is a serious emergency.

CAUSES

A ruptured globe can be caused by any accident in which a sharp or a blunt object hits the eye or the face strikes against a hard object. The most common ways that people suffer a ruptured globe include:

  • Being forcefully poked in the eye by a sharp object, such as a stick, pencil, or scissors.

  • Being hit directly on the eye by a blunt object, such as a baseball bat, ball, or a fist.

  • Being struck in the eye by a flying object, such as a bullet from a gun. Injuries from flying objects may also occur at work, during home improvement projects, or during a sporting event.

  • Striking the face on a hard object, such as a car dashboard during a crash.

  • Falls.

SYMPTOMS

  • Pain.

  • Loss of vision.

  • Decreased ability to move the eye normally.

  • Blood or fluid leaking from the eye.

DIAGNOSIS

A ruptured globe may be evident on physical exam. It may also be diagnosed through imaging tests, such as a CT scan, X-ray, or MRI scan. These tests create pictures of the affected area. CT scans are most useful, but X-rays and MRI scans may also aid diagnosis.

TREATMENT

Treatment for a ruptured globe almost always requires admission to the hospital and surgery by an eye surgeon (ophthalmologist). The exact type of surgery needed to repair a ruptured globe varies with the type and extent of damage to the eye. Your ophthalmologist will talk to you about the type of surgery that best meets your needs. Before surgery is performed, initial treatment may include:

  • Keeping the eye covered with a special shield to protect the eye from additional or further injury.

  • Medicines to prevent vomiting. Vomiting can increase pressure in the eye and cause further injury.

  • Pain medicines and medicine that relaxes you (sedative).

  • Antibiotic medicines to prevent or treat infection.

  • Bed rest until the diagnosis and treatment is complete.

  • A tetanus shot.