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Orbital Blowout Fractures

The orbit is a hollow structure in the skull where the eye is positioned. It is made up of bones that surround the eyes, protecting and holding them in the right place. An orbital blowout fracture is the breaking of one or more bones in the orbital region of the eye because of trauma. These fractures are mainly caused due to injuries with blunt forces during sports, fights or accidents. Orbital blowout fractures are characterised by:

  • Swelling, bruising and bleeding
  • Inability to look up
  • Numbness of the nose, cheek or teeth
  • Double vision
  • Inferiorly positioned eyeballs

Severe injury can cause damage to the eye -hyphema (bleeding of the anterior chamber of the eye) or retinal detachment – and to the skull or brain.

Immediate treatment for orbital blowout fractures includes placing gauze gently on the injured area to stop the bleeding, tilting the patient to one side so that the blood flows out easily and placing ice packs to reduce swelling. You may be given decongestants to help drain blood and fluid accumulation in the sinuses. Your doctor may also prescribe oral steroids and antibiotics. You may need surgery if your symptoms such as double vision or pain persist. During surgery the fractured bone is repositioned and any trapped tissue is released. Persistent double vision can be treated with prism glasses or botulinum toxin injections, but may require eye muscle surgery.

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