Corneoscleral Laceration Treatment & Management

Updated: Nov 19, 2018
  • Author: Guruswami Giri, MD, FRCS; Chief Editor: Hampton Roy, Sr, MD  more...
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Medical Care

A corneoscleral laceration is surgically treated. Corneal lacerations alone may be self-sealing and may not require repair.

Medications play a secondary role. Topical, systemic,, intravitreal, and intracameral antibiotics are used for prophylaxis against infections. Topical steroids are used to reduce postoperative inflammation. Cycloplegics may be used to relieve ciliary muscle spasm. Elevated intraocular pressure is not uncommon as a result of the injury per se or due to associated inflammation. Under these circumstances, aqueous suppressants are indicated.


Surgical Care

The patient is prepared for surgery as soon as possible and medically cleared.

The time of the last meal or drink determines when surgery is scheduled. To prevent aspiration, at least 4-6 hours should have elapsed since the last meal. Once the physician decides to repair the laceration, the patient should be restricted to nothing by mouth.

The primary aim of surgery is to restore the anatomical integrity of the globe.


Repairing corneoscleral lacerations under general anesthesia is recommended.

Anesthesia should be achieved without any increase in intraocular pressure, which can occur during intubation or because of anesthetic agents.

Depolarizing agents (eg, succinyl choline) are not used. Although succinyl choline possesses several advantages, it contracts extraocular muscles and increases intraocular pressure.

Avoid external pressure from the mask, as this can increase intraocular pressure.

Local anesthesia is generally not used as an anesthetic agent because it may increase intraorbital and intraocular pressures. Injecting it is also difficult because the normal globe anatomy is lost as a result of the trauma. The patient may also squeeze the eye while the physician administers the injection.

Eye preparation

The eye should be prepared and draped with care without applying any pressure to the globe. The eye is irrigated with a sterile balanced salt solution (BSS) to remove any superficial foreign bodies.

Eye examination

The eye is gently examined to evaluate the extent of damage. If the globe appears unstable, sutures are first applied prior to exploration of the wound.

Corneal laceration repair

First, a suture is applied to the limbus using 10-0 nylon sutures, and the wound is tightly secured. This suture helps to anatomically approximate the wound.

After the first suture is applied, an iris prolapse or a vitreous prolapse is treated. In the presence of an iris prolapse, see Iris Prolapse for a description of the surgical procedure. In the presence of a vitreous prolapse, a vitrectomy is performed with cellulose sponges and scissors or an automated vitrector. During the vitrectomy, traction on the vitreous should be avoided. Then, close the corneal with 10-0 nylon sutures.

A traumatic cataract may be present. Unless lens material is fluffed up into the anterior chamber or the lens has become intumescent, the cataract is often not removed at this time. A more controlled cataract extraction with better visualization can be performed at a later date. Intraocular lens (IOL) calculations with keratometry and axial length measurements may not be available in an emergency situation.

If the cataract must be removed at the time of the corneoscleral laceration repair, it is typically performed through a limbal incision once the laceration has been repaired.

Scleral exploration and repair

After the corneal wound is repaired, the scleral wound is explored. This exploration is achieved by performing a limbal peritomy at the site of the limbal wound. The author recommends the placement of interrupted full-thickness scleral sutures using 9-0 nylon.

Segments of scleral laceration are explored and repaired. This method helps to stabilize the eye and to prevent uveal or vitreous prolapse. Scleral laceration should be repaired as far posteriorly as possible; far posterior scleral ruptures may be left unsutured. While repairing scleral lacerations, care must be taken to avoid exerting pressure on the globe.

In the presence of uveal prolapse, the prolapsed tissue is reposited. The author avoids excision of the prolapsed uveal tissue unless it is necrotic because it may cause excessive bleeding.

Vitreous prolapse is managed by performing a vitrectomy with cellulose sponges and scissors or by using an automated vitrector. [6] The sutures are placed closely together and tied to achieve a watertight closure.

Intravitreal antibiotics may be injected through the scleral laceration.

The conjunctiva is sutured using 7-0 Vicryl sutures. A patch and a shield are applied to the eye.

Postoperative monitoring

Postoperatively, patients should be monitored carefully for signs of infection.

Pain, photophobia, redness, tearing, or a deterioration of vision should alert the physician to look for signs of endophthalmitis. [7, 8]

Conjunctival injection, chemosis, corneal edema, and elevated intraocular pressure may be present but are not diagnostic of infection.

A more than expected anterior chamber reaction and cells in the vitreous suggest endophthalmitis.



Consultation is generally unnecessary unless other injuries are present or suspected.

Patients must also be cleared for general anesthesia.



Postoperative fluids are administered and then advanced as tolerated.



Patients should be instructed to wear polycarbonate eyeglasses while working with mechanical tools or playing sports. Patients should be advised to avoid engaging in contact sports for several months after the laceration repair. If the patient has difficulty with depth perception because of poor vision in the injured eye, the patient should be advised not to work with sharp, cutting, or power tools and where depth perception is essential.



Eye protection with safety glasses should be considered while working with mechanical tools or playing sports. Contact sports may need to be deferred for months or permanently.


Long-Term Monitoring

Patients should be monitored long-term for the development of complications such as refractive errors, cataract, glaucoma, retinal tears, and retinal detachments. Children may develop amblyopia in the involved eye. Children may need glasses or contact lenses. Contact lenses have been shown to be effective for visual rehabilitation aid in children. [9]


Further Outpatient Care

Most patients with corneoscleral laceration are discharged home and are seen as outpatients at appropriate times as determined by the status of the eye.


Inpatient & Outpatient Medications

The author recommends oral antibiotics for 7-10 days, although no established controlled study supports this recommendation.

The author uses topical steroids, antibiotics, and cycloplegics for a few weeks. Depending on the intraocular pressure, topical antiglaucoma medication may be needed.