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Globe Rupture

  • Author: John R Acerra, MD; Chief Editor: Steven C Dronen, MD, FAAEM  more...
 
Updated: Oct 26, 2015
 

Background

Globe rupture occurs when the integrity of the outer membranes of the eye is disrupted by blunt or penetrating trauma. Any full-thickness injury to the cornea, sclera, or both is considered an open globe injury and is approached in the same manner in the acute setting. Globe rupture is an ophthalmologic emergency and requires definitive management by an ophthalmologist. Although the globe's position within the orbit protects it from injury in many situations, damage to the posterior segment of the eye is associated with a very high frequency of permanent visual loss. Prompt recognition and ophthalmologic intervention are essential to maximizing functional outcome.

Globe rupture secondary to trauma is shown in the image below.

Operating microscope view of a globe rupture secon Operating microscope view of a globe rupture secondary to blunt trauma by a fist. Notice the dark arc in the bottom of the photo representing the ciliary body visible through the scleral breach. Subconjunctival hemorrhage of this severity should raise suspicion of occult globe rupture. Photo courtesy of Brian C Mulrooney, MD.
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Pathophysiology

Globe rupture may occur when a blunt object impacts the orbit, compressing the globe along the anterior-posterior axis causing an elevation in intraocular pressure to a point that the sclera tears. Ruptures from blunt trauma are most common at the sites where the sclera is thinnest, at the insertions of the extraocular muscles, at the limbus, and at the site of previous intraocular surgery.[1, 2] Sharp objects or those traveling at high velocity may perforate the globe directly. Small foreign bodies may penetrate the eye and remain within the globe. The possibility of globe rupture should be considered and ruled out during the evaluation of all blunt and penetrating orbital traumas as well as in all cases involving high-speed projectiles with potential for ocular penetration.

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Epidemiology

Frequency

United States

More than 2 million eye injuries occur in the United States annually, with more than 40,000 resulting in some degree of permanent visual impairment. Trauma to the eye represents approximately 3% of all ED visits in the United States.[3] One third of all cases of childhood blindness result from ocular trauma.

Mortality/Morbidity

Globe rupture and posterior segment injury have always been associated with a high frequency of visual loss. With modern diagnostic techniques, surgical approaches, and rehabilitation, many eyes can be salvaged with retention of vision.[4]

Patients should not be given a hopeful prognosis until full, usually operative, evaluation is complete. Predictors of poor final visual acuity after penetrating ocular trauma are initial visual acuity of only light perception or no light perception, wounds extending posterior to rectus muscle insertion plane, wound length greater than 10 mm, and blunt or missile injury.[5]

Race

No racial predilection exists for globe rupture.

Sex

Because of occupational and recreational preferences, most globe rupture injuries are found in men (78.6%).[6] Men are more likely to experience penetrating injuries (69.9%), whereas women present more often with blunt globe rupture (68.1%).[6]

Age

Globe rupture typically occurs at a younger age in men (median age, 36 y) than in women (median age, 73 y).[6]

A high percentage of globe rupture occurrences are in adolescent boys.

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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

John R Acerra, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine; Director, International Emergency Medicine Fellowship, North Shore-LIJ Health System

John R Acerra, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Emergency Physicians, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Coauthor(s)

Derek J Golden, MD Attending Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, West Hills Hospital and Medical Center

Derek J Golden, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Emergency Physicians, American Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Douglas Lavenburg, MD Clinical Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Christiana Care Health Systems

Douglas Lavenburg, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Steven C Dronen, MD, FAAEM Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, LeConte Medical Center

Steven C Dronen, MD, FAAEM is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Emergency Medicine, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Edward A Michelson, MD Associate Professor, Program Director, Department of Emergency Medicine, University Hospital Health Systems of Cleveland

Edward A Michelson, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Emergency Physicians, National Association of EMS Physicians, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

The authors and editors of Medscape Reference gratefully acknowledge the contributions of previous authors, Joe Robson, MD, Amy J Behrman, MD, and Stephanie Abbuhl, MD, to the development and writing of this article.

References
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  2. Olitsky S, Hug D, Smith L. Injuries to the eye. Kliegman R, ed. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. 2007. Chap 634.

  3. Bord SP, Linden J. Trauma to the globe and orbit. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2008 Feb. 26(1):97-123, vi-vii. [Medline].

  4. Rubasmen PE. Posterior segment ocular trauma. Yanoff M, Duker J, eds. Ophthalmology. 3rd ed. 2008. 6.42.

  5. Esmaeli B, Elner SG, Schork MA, Elner VM. Visual outcome and ocular survival after penetrating trauma. A clinicopathologic study. Ophthalmology. 1995 Mar. 102(3):393-400. [Medline].

  6. Koo L, Kapadia MK, Singh RP, Sheridan R, Hatton MP. Gender differences in etiology and outcome of open globe injuries. J Trauma. 2005 Jul. 59(1):175-8. [Medline].

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  10. Arey ML, Mootha VV, Whittemore AR, Chason DP, Blomquist PH. Computed tomography in the diagnosis of occult open-globe injuries. Ophthalmology. 2007 Aug. 114(8):1448-52. [Medline].

  11. Hoffstetter P, Schreyer AG, Schreyer CI, et al. Multidetector CT (MD-CT) in the Diagnosis of Uncertain Open Globe Injuries. Rofo. 2009 Oct 26. [Medline].

  12. Essex RW, Yi Q, Charles PG, Allen PJ. Post-traumatic endophthalmitis. Ophthalmology. 2004 Nov. 111(11):2015-22. [Medline].

  13. Lee CH, Lee L, Kao LY, Lin KK, Yang ML. Prognostic indicators of open globe injuries in children. Am J Emerg Med. 2009 Jun. 27(5):530-5. [Medline].

  14. Vachon CA, Warner DO, Bacon DR. Succinylcholine and the open globe. Tracing the teaching. Anesthesiology. 2003 Jul. 99(1):220-3. [Medline].

  15. Libonati MM, Leahy JJ, Ellison N. The use of succinylcholine in open eye surgery. Anesthesiology. May 1985. 62:637-639. [Medline].

  16. Augsburger J, Asbury T. Ocular & orbital trauma. Rioodan-Eva P, Whitcher JP, eds. Vaughan & Asbury's General Ophthalmology. 17th ed. 2007. Chap 19.

  17. Khaw PT, Shah P, Elkington AR. Injury to the eye. BMJ. 2004 Jan 3. 328(7430):36-8. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  18. Yuan WH, Hsu HC, Cheng HC, Guo WY, Teng MM, Chen SJ, et al. CT of globe rupture: analysis and frequency of findings. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2014 May. 202 (5):1100-7. [Medline].

 
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Operating microscope view of a globe rupture secondary to blunt trauma by a fist. Notice the dark arc in the bottom of the photo representing the ciliary body visible through the scleral breach. Subconjunctival hemorrhage of this severity should raise suspicion of occult globe rupture. Photo courtesy of Brian C Mulrooney, MD.
 
 
 
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