IN THE EVENT OF AN INJURY, MEDICAL HELP SHOULD BE SOUGHT IMMEDIATELY
Injuries to the eye and surrounding structures can be caused by blunt trauma from a ball or fist, sharp trauma such as a stick or projectile, or chemical trauma such as splash from a caustic substance like a cleaning materials or pool supplies.
Which part of the eye can be injured?
Injuries to the eye can involve the skin and eyelids, the bones surrounding the eye, or the eyeball itself.
What are some injuries to the eyelids?
Eyelid injuries usually occur as a result of sharp trauma such as injuries from sticks or projectiles that occur during play or while working around the house. If the eyelid tissue becomes cut or torn it could involve not only the eyelid but the structures that drain tears out of the eye. Any laceration of the eyelid or the torn draining structure requires evaluation by an ophthalmologist and may require repair in the operating room using microsurgical techniques. Any injury to the eyelid can also be associated with injury to the eyeball so a complete examination of the eye must be performed to make certain there is no injury deeper than on the surface of the eye.
What are some common injuries to the eyeball itself?
The front, clear surface of the eye called the cornea can sometimes be scratched, which results in pain, redness and tearing. The physician or eye doctor can make the diagnosis by placing a yellow dye called fluorescein into the eye, which will highlight the scratch. Treatment involves using antibiotic eye drops and, in severe cases, may require covering the eye with a patch. These injuries require close follow up with your ophthalmologist.
What if the scratch goes deeper than the surface?
Sometimes a sharp stick. shard of glass, or metallic object can actually cut the surface of the eye causing a laceration. This type of injury can place you at risk for permanent loss of vision. These lacerations must be repaired by an ophthalmologist promptly to prevent complications and maximize vision potential.
What do I do if a chemical or cleaning solution splashes into my eye?The first thing to do any time any abnormal liquid gets in eyes is to immediately wash out the eye. Rinsing the chemical out of the eye will decrease the chance of long-term problems. If there is any eye pain, redness, discomfort, or watering, you should be seen by an emergency room doctor or an ophthalmologist right away. Bring the chemical or solution with you to the doctor’s office as this will help the doctor determine appropriate treatment.
Tumors in the eye are usually secondary tumors caused by cancers that have spread from other parts of the body, especially the breast, lung, bowel or prostate. Two types of primary tumors arise within the eye itself and are known as retinoblastoma in children and melanoma in adults.
Retinoblastoma is a cancer of the retina, the eye's light-sensitive tissue. This most common childhood eye cancer usually strikes children under age five. While symptoms may not be evident early in the disease, increasing pain and vision loss eventually signal the problem.
Malignant melanoma occurs most frequently in adults 60 to 65 years of age, arising from uncontrolled growth of cells called melanocytes. From 1,500 to 2,000 new cases are diagnosed annually in the United States.
In addition to damaging vision, eye tumors can spread to the optic nerve, the brain and the rest of the body. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment are extremely important. Melanoma tends to spread via blood vessels to distant organs. Your ophthalmologists and other highly skilled physicians, like the pathologist, play a crucial role in making the precise diagnosis and in determining the progression of the tumor.
There are various ways to treat eye tumors, depending on the diagnosis, size and aggressiveness of the tumor, and other factors. Certain small tumors may respond to laser treatment or freezing (cryosurgery). In some instances, it is possible to remove a tumor surgically and still preserve vision. If the eye cancer is advanced and must be treated aggressively or removed, plastic surgeons at Wilmer perform reconstructive eye surgery. Today's artificial eyes or implants move almost normally and are virtually indistinguishable from natural eyes, although, of course, they do not see.