What is a Globe Injury (to the eye)?
A globe rupture occurs when blunt or penetrating trauma damages the outer membranes of the eye, typically injuring the sclera, cornea, or both. Sometimes globe ruptures can also result from damage caused by exposure to certain chemicals, such as strong acids. Overall, they compose approximately 10 percent of all eye injuries, most of them are caused by sharp objects that penetrate the eye wall.
If not treated immediately (and sometimes even if it is), it can result in permanent loss of vision in the affected eye. In many cases, the ruptures are untreatable, and the eye must be replaced with an ocular prosthesis. It is especially important that, during emergency transport, the eye is protected from any pressure, including something as benign as an eye patch.
Symptoms associated with globe ruptures include pain, loss of vision (or blurred vision), and diplopia, (aka double-vision).
Before a globe rupture can be properly treated, it is important to understand the nature, circumstances, and history of the injury; asking questions such as the following:
- What was the victim doing at the time of the injury?
- When and where did the injury occur?
- What type of trauma is likely to result from the activity that caused the injury?
- What are the circumstances surrounding the injury? For example, in men, globe ruptures are most frequently associated with projectile injuries while on the job, and in women, from vehicle accidents or falls;
- What type of object most likely struck the globe?
- Does a CT scan reveal that there is an intraocular foreign body (i.e. something has entered and remains inside the eye)? Or has the object exited the eye wall (i.e. is it a perforating injury)? Failing to remove intraocular foreign bodies in some cases carries the risk of the victim developing endophthalmitis.
- Is it possible that the victim was wearing lenses or contacts at the time they were injured?
- Was anyone else, or any other related activity, involved? For example, if the injury was due to a vehicle accident, was the victim wearing a seatbelt at the time?
Typically, the patient’s medical history is also relevant, and may include looking at any preexisting medical conditions, prior surgeries, medications, allergies, etc. However, if the wound in the eye-wall is unstable or especially large, it is often wise to repair it surgically immediately; even before properly diagnosing the injury.
Children Present Unique Medical Considerations
Globe ruptures in children can become especially problematic, as children sometimes aren’t always aware that trauma has occurred until their vision is already compromised. Ocular injuries in children comprise 20 to 50 percent of all ocular injuries, with perforating eye injuries serving as a significant cause of overall vision loss.
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If you have suffered from a globe rupture, or any other serious eye injury due to someone else’s negligence or intentional act, we are here to help. For your free, no-obligation case review and consultation call our law firm today at (508) 588-0422 and you will have taken your first step towards getting fair compensation for your injuries or for the loss of a loved one. You can also click here to use our Free Case Evaluation Form.
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