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Eye Injuries

Eye injuries can be separated into two general categories; (1) injuries involving the eye; and (2) injuries involving the structures external to the eye that support visual function. The Birmingham Eye Trauma Terminology is a standard vocabulary for describing mechanical injuries to the sclera and cornea with and without the presence of a foreign body. There are distinct types of injuries to the eye wall. Open globe injuries including corneal injuries are penetrating (having a single entrance wound) or perforating (having both entrance and exit wounds). If caused by a sharp object they are lacerations. If caused by a blunt object they are ruptures. Closed globe injuries are lamellar (partial thickness eye wall injury) and contusions (blunt). Injuries can involve any of the structures within the eye and may include glaucoma, hemorrhage, cataract, lens dislocation, retinal hole and detachment, and optic nerve avulsions among many others. Injuries to the structures external to the eye include fractures, lacerations, soft tissue avulsions, retained foreign bodies and traumatic tattooing, nerve damage to any of the six cranial nerves associated with eye function, burns and chemical injuries, scrapes and abrasions, contusions, and hematomas amongst many others. Many ocular injuries can be managed surgically. Some can be managed with topical ocular medications. The most serious injuries with frequently result in some loss of visual functioning.