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Orbital blowout fracture

An orbital blowout fracture can occur if a strong blow is directed to the eye area. The orbit is the anterior part of the skull that provides structure and a pocket for the eyeball. A break can occur in any part around the orbital walls but quite common in the orbital floor since it is considered the feeblest bone structure.

What are the possible injuries due to an orbital blowout fracture?

There are various serious injuries that can occur to the eye due to the blunt force that is directly placed on the eyeball.

Hyphema (hemorrhage in the anterior chamber)

Hyphema can occur after direct impact into the eye. In a few hours after impact, blood builds up into the front chamber of the eyeball. Remember that this is a serious eye injury that requires hospitalization, bed rest, sedation and bilateral patching on the eyes. In most cases, it settles in a few days.

Retinal detachment

Orbital blowout fracture
There are various serious injuries that can occur to the eye due to the blunt force that is directly placed on the eyeball.

This is also a serious injury from blunt trauma to the eye but can occur several months or years after the injury. The retina is the nerve bundle that connects the eyeball to the brain. If damaged, vision is significantly disrupted.

It is indicated by flashes of light or a “curtain” dropping. There might also be “floaters” in his/her vision. If these symptoms are present, the individual is managed by placing patches on both eyes and a doctor is consulted for surgical repair.

Indications of an orbital blowout fracture

When an individual sustains a direct strike to the eye, it is likely for a break to occur. The indications of this type of fracture include the following:

  • Bleeding
  • Abrupt swelling that can be severe
  • Recessed eyeball
  • Double vision
  • Inferiorly positioned eyeball
  • Cheek numbness
  • Absent eye movements
  • Limited ocular movements

Management

It is vital to call for emergency care right away so that the individual is assessed for a possible concussion or brain injury.

You should apply gauze gently on the injured area to control any bleeding. Crushed ice can also be applied to minimize the swelling but be careful not to increase the pressure in the eye. If the bleeding is significant, apply a soft object beneath the head of the individual and roll onto his/her side so blood can flow onto the ground.

Another consideration in managing a serious injury is dealing with shock. Serious injuries can lead to shock due to blood loss or the psychological impact of the injury.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on an orbital blowout fracture is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage broken bones including an orbital blowout fracture, register for a first aid and CPR course with Mississauga First Aid.

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