BACKGROUND: Prompt identification of significant ocular injuries in patients who sustain an orbital fracture is important to prevent any potential long-term visual sequelae. The true incidence of these injuries has not been determined, however. As a consequence, most surgeons choose to have all patients evaluated by an ophthalmologist. The objective of this study was to conclusively identify the incidence of significant ocular injuries in patients with isolated orbital fractures and to determine their predictors to guide more efficient patient care. METHODS: A prospective cohort study powered to detect a 15% incidence of ocular injuries was designed. All patients presenting to our center with computed tomography findings of an isolated orbital fracture were included and evaluated by plastic surgery and ophthalmology services. Patients were followed up for a minimum of 1 week to identify any delayed injuries. RESULTS: Eighty patients were enrolled from 2012 to 2014. There were 46 men and 34 women with a mean age of 42.8 years. Assault was the most common mechanism of injury. There were 8 ocular injuries (10%): ruptured globe (1), uveal prolapse (1), retrobulbar hemorrhage (2), hyphema (2), hemorrhagic glaucoma with hyphema (1), and scleral tear (1). Predictors for significant ocular injuries were grossly abnormal visual acuity and abnormal pupillary reactivity of the affected eye. CONCLUSIONS: The incidence of significant ocular injuries in isolated orbital fractures is lower than previously reported. Patients presenting with grossly abnormal visual acuity or abnormal pupillary reactivity are at high risk and should receive prompt ophthalmology service evaluation.
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