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Blunt Eye Injuries


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Reviewed/Revised Feb 2024
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What is a blunt eye injury?

A blunt eye injury is a type of injury in which you get hit hard in the eye, usually by an object such as a ball.

A blunt eye injury may damage your eyelid, eyeball, and the thin bones behind your eyeball.

Parts of the Eye

Parts of the Eye

What are the symptoms of blunt eye injuries?

Symptoms depend on what parts of your eye are injured.

A lot of blunt eye injuries just involve the eyelids and tissue around your eye. This can result in:

  • Bruising and swelling (black eye)

  • Cuts in the eyelid or skin around your eye

  • Redness of the white of your eye

Sometimes, your eyeball is damaged. You could have scratches on your cornea Corneal Abrasions and Corneal Foreign Bodies The cornea is the clear layer at the front of your eye. An abrasion is a shallow scratch. So a corneal abrasion is a scratch to your cornea. A corneal foreign body is an object, such as a grain... read more (the clear layer over the center of your eye). The lens can be knocked loose. You could have bleeding inside your eye. The thin layer at the back of your eye that forms images (the retina) can be torn loose (detached retina Detachment of the Retina The retina is a layer of cells at the back of your eye that's sensitive to light and sends signals to the brain that allow you to see. A detached retina is one that has separated from the back... read more ). Sometimes, your eyeball even splits open. Eyeball injuries can cause pain and the following:

  • Blurry vision

  • Double vision (seeing two of everything)

  • Blindness

Sometime blunt injuries push your eyeball in so hard it breaks the thin bones at the back of your eye socket. This is called a blowout fracture, which causes pain and sometimes:

  • Your eye looks pushed in

  • You have difficulty looking up

  • Your cheek is numb just below your eye

How can doctors tell how much damage a blunt eye injury has caused?

Your doctor will check your vision and do an eye exam. If you have a lot of swelling, it can be hard for the doctor to examine your eye. You may need to go to an ophthalmologist (a doctor who specializes in eye problems) right away. The ophthalmologist will examine your eye with special instruments and may order a CT scan to get more information.

How do doctors treat blunt eye injuries?

Treatment will depend on your specific eye injuries but usually includes:

  • Ice packs

  • Pain medicine

Bleeding in the eye may require bed rest so the bleeding doesn't get worse.

Some eye injuries require surgery.

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