Question

According to your reading assignment, “Visual Impairments”, there are three mechanisms in which accidental eye injury can occur. Describe the three mechanisms.

Answer

Accidental eye injuries may occur from any one of the following three mechanisms:

1. Chemical splash: A chemical splash injury is said to be one of the most common ocular injuries. Many chemical splash injuries are minor and will heal in a few days, although some may result in “recurrent erosions.”

  • A much more serious chemical splash injury results from a splash with a metallic acid (such as from a car battery) or strong alkalis (potash, lye, and oven cleaner). These injuries may cause opacification of the cornea or scarring of the conjunctiva- resulting in distortion of the eyelids and eye. Corneal transplant may be used to treat this type of injury although often these types of transplants are ineffective.

2. Blunt Trauma: Blunt trauma results when an object hits the eye and causes bleeding into the anterior (hyphema) and/or posterior (vitreous hemorrhage) portions of the eye. Each can be managed conservatively although they may require surgical removal of the blood.

  • When there is bleeding in the eye, the eye may develop a cataract, glaucoma, retinal detachment, or a dislocated lens.

3. Penetrating Foreign Body- A penetrating foreign body injury is considered to be the most severe of the accidental injuries. If an object has penetrated the eye, this injury can cause tears in the cornea, lens, and retina. Although surgery can be performed to treat these conditions, good outcomes may not be possible as the eye may develop glaucoma or pthisis (a condition in which the eye withers and becomes blind).

  • An eye that becomes blind may be painful and can be treated with enucleation or surgical removal of the eyeball. For cosmetic purposes, the individual may choose to have an oculist create an artificial eye.

 

Sedwick. “Visual Impairments.” In P. Deutsch and H. Sawyer (Ed.) A Guide to Rehabilitation. White Plains, NY: AHAB Press.

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