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Eye Trauma Service

The Eye Trauma Service at Massachusetts Eye and Ear is dedicated to the care of adults and children with severe eye injuries.

For urgent eye trauma care, please contact the Emergency Department
at Mass. Eye and Ear:

Telephone: 617-573-3431

In the Eye Trauma Service, we see more than 100 new patients each year with referrals from emergency rooms, health facilities and private practices from all over New England. We provide surgical and inpatient care for open-globe injuries, as well as outpatient management and follow-up for patients with any significant eye trauma. We work closely with various Mass. Eye and Ear subspecialty services such as Oculoplastics, Cornea, Retina and Pediatrics in the management of these patients. In addition to patient care, the Eye Trauma Service is actively involved in preventive strategies and clinical research related to ocular trauma.

Diagnosis

Any patient with trauma involving the eye should first be medically evaluated to rule-out potentially life-threatening injuries. A complete eye exam by an ophthalmologist is then necessary to assess for potential damage to the eye and its surrounding structures. A computed tomography (CT) of the orbits is particularly helpful in identifying fractures, bleeding, or foreign bodies in and around the eye. An ultrasound of the eye is another non-invasive tool sometimes used to assess the structures within the eye. Occasionally, surgical exploration of the eye is necessary if there is suspicion of a serious injury not fully evident on clinical examination.

Treatment

Trauma to the eye can result in a number of conditions that could require medical and/or surgical management. If a patient sustains a full-thickness laceration of the eye resulting in an open globe, the primary treatment objective is to prevent infection and potential loss of the eye. Treatment with systemic broad-spectrum antibiotics and surgical closure of the eye is initiated, ideally within 24 hours of the injury. Post-operatively, patients are started on topical medications, and monitored for infection in an inpatient setting. Follow-up care is then continued in the outpatient clinic where the Eye Trauma Service works in collaboration with other subspecialty services, such as Oculoplastics, Cornea, Retina and Pediatrics, to aid in the visual rehabilitation of these patients. Counseling on preventive strategies, including the use of proper eye protection, is another significant part of the care of our patients.  

Appointments

The Director of the Eye Trauma Service has clinic hours on Mondays from 8:30am to noon, and Fridays from 9:00am to noon. Appointments may be made by calling 617-573-3022. Questions regarding surgical scheduling may be addressed to staff at 617-573-3416.

Research 

Since 1997, the Eye Trauma Service has been involved in compiling a database of patients with open-globe injuries treated at Mass. Eye and Ear. Between 1997 and 2007, we have documented more than 700 patients with open globe injuries that have been managed by the Trauma Service. The information collected in this database has been used to describe risk factors and outcomes for patients with open globe injuries. Notably, we have found that the infection rate after open globe injuries in patients treated at Mass. Eye and Ear has been consistently less than the reported average.

Page updated August 10, 2010