The orbital bones are the bones that make up your eye socket. Like any other bone in your body, these bones can be broken. Here's what you need to know about this injury.
How do orbital fractures usually occur?
Orbital fractures are caused by blunt trauma to your face. This can happen in a lot of ways, but assault, like getting punched or kicked in the face, is the most common cause. It can also happen if you get in a car accident and hit your head on the steering wheel. Falls and sporting accidents are additional possible causes.
Can orbital fractures lead to vision loss?
The forces that break your orbital bones can also damage your optic nerves. The optic nerves transmit images from your retinas to your brain, so without them, you can't see. Sometimes, this vision loss is temporary. Swelling in the area can put pressure on the optic nerve, causing temporary vision loss, but as soon as the swelling goes away, you'll be able to see again. Usually, though, any vision loss that occurs after an orbital fracture is permanent. This happens when the optic nerve is severed by force or by fragments of your orbital bones.
Can orbital fractures cause other eye problems?
Orbital fractures don't just cause vision loss; they can cause other eye problems, too. The fracture can damage the muscles that control the movement of your eyes, leading to crossed eyes. The muscle damage can also lead to double vision. Your tear ducts can also get pinched by the fractured bones, leading to excessive tearing. These problems may not go away by themselves once your fracture heals, so you may need surgery to correct them. These complications can also be permanent.
How are orbital fractures treated?
If you break a bone somewhere else in your body, you can get a cast, but that isn't possible for an orbital fracture. If your fracture is minor, doctors will usually just observe it to see if it heals by itself. If the fracture is serious or isn't healing by itself, you'll need surgery. Depending on the fracture, ophthalmologists can operate through your skin, through your eye socket, or even through your nose.
Orbital fractures are a serious injury, and can cause serious and permanent harm to your vision. Prompt treatment is essential, so all suspected orbital fractures need to be evaluated by an ophthalmologist like Bethany Vision Clinic right away.