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Ocular (eye) trauma

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Our very first article written in this prestigious newspaper about one year ago was precisely about this topic, but in spite of the fact that the incidence of these cases has been greatly reduced in our hospital (MCMH), we consider that the number of cases seen is still high in comparison to the population of our country. We will therefore be talking about this topic again today, trying to incorporate new details about the same as it constitutes an extremely painful and sometimes immense problem for the patient and/or their family and for the physician. The partial or total loss of vision due to accidents that could have been prevented in the majority of times, is even more distressing when a child is involved.{{more}}

We will define an ocular trauma as an aggression suffered by the eyeball and its annexes (eyelids, eyelashes and lagrimal apparatus) by diverse agents (chemical, physical, mechanical). In St Vincent and the Grenadines the most commonly seen are due to contusions (smack, bump) caused by stones, sticks or fist (“box”) and domestic accidents.

The human eye, as we have said in other occasions, is a complex and sensitive organ. In order to comply with its many important functions, it needs for some of its structures to be transparent (cornea, aqueous humor, lens, vitreous body) with adequate functioning of the rest so that external light may be transformed into an electrical impulse therefore allowing us to perceive (visualize) the objects in our external environment. Therefore, any damage or injury caused to the eye most often results in a compromised vision often for life.

To expand a little on the second paragraph, we can say that ocular trauma can be divided into OPEN trauma (cuts) and CLOSED trauma (smack, lash) and these are able to produce peri-orbitary ecchymosis (bruised or black eye), fractures, lacerations (cuts) with or without leaking of ocular contents, ptosis (falling of the eyelids), diplopia (double vision), hemorrhages (in the conjunctiva, anterior chamber (hyphema), posterior chamber (hemovitreous), traumatic cataracts, vitreous-retinal detachment, macular hole and numerous other damages.

The treatment for these ocular traumas logically will depend on the extent of damage caused by the responsible agent; however from simple to complicated this will consist of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications and ocular occlusion or emergency surgery, hospital admission and even ocular extraction to preserve the individual’s life.

Occasion complications could include infections, eyelid ptosis, tetanus, decreased visual sharpness, retinal detachment and complete loss of vision or the eyeball.

The objective of this topic is to try and sensitize us so that we may become more conscientious about the importance of working together to preventing ocular trauma and to pay special attention to the daily games played by our children where sticks pencils and other sharp-pointed objects may be used. In certain jobs also, (carpentry, construction workers, gardeners) the use of protective goggles is greatly advised.

Do not forget my fellow readers, many say that our eyes reflect our souls, or simply put, they are the windows to relating us to our outside world- take very good care of them.

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