Ocular Trauma


Eye injuries can occur at any time. Our office is equipped to handle most eye injuries. The primary instrument we use is a biomicroscope, sometimes referred to as a slit lamp. The biomicroscope has a high magnification and is particularly designed to aid us in evaluating the extent of an eye injury. Whether it is a laceration, foreign particle embedded or a burn, the biomicroscope is the primary tool to carefully examine the injury.

Embedded Foreign Bodies

A common injury is a hot iron metallic foreign body embedded in the cornea. Grinding or drilling in iron or other metals will release particles that are hot and when they hit the eye they embed themselves in the cornea. If it is iron, as in this example, it will immediately begin to rust due to the salty consistency of our tears. When the metal particle is removed, there is a remaining rust deposit that has infiltrated the surrounding cornea. We have experience in removing these rust spots. With proper medical treatment, these injuries resolve well.

If the foreign particle was embedded in the central visual axis of the cornea, there may be a scar remaining which could affect the patient’s ultimate visual acuity. Safety glasses are always recommended to prevent these type of injuries.

Retinal Trauma

A contusion around the eye, otherwise referred to as a “black eye” can result in more than just the obvious bruises on the face. The retina is the nerve tissue that lines the back of the eye and senses light. It is nourished by a network of small blood vessels within and behind it. We have special instruments that allow us to look for damage to these blood vessels and to look for detachment of the retina.

Retinal Hemorrhages

Retinal hemorrhages can result from injury or disease. A compression type of injury can cause retinal edema and bleeding within and beneath the retina. This damage can result in blindness to the affected eye. Immediate examination and subsequent treatment is needed in these situations.

Emergency Eye Care

If you have symptoms of “Flashes of Light” in your vision, when there is no light to explain the flashes, this could mean that there is something happening on the back of the eye. The eye does not have any pain sensors so flashes are your best clue that there is something wrong. In contrast, the cornea (the clear window on the front of the eye) has more nerve pain sensors than any other part of the body. Injury to the cornea can be incredibly painful. However, in both cases, immediate treatment is needed. Our office staff is well trained to know how to expedite the treatment of these types of injuries. Call immediately when an injury occurs. We are here to help.

For emergencies after hours, call 206-995-1019 to reach the on-call doctor.