Contributor: Gordon K. Klintworth
The term trauma refers to any physical or psychic wound or injury. Physical trauma can occur at various times during an individual's life. It may occur in utero, during birth [birth trauma, forceps injury] or later in life. It may follow a blunt injury [trauma - blunt], perforating injuries and intraocular foreign bodies [foreign body]. A special type of trauma can occur during childhood [child abuse]. The emotional shock of psychic trauma can have a lasting effect on an individual.
Direct trauma to the eye can cause a wide variety of injuries. Physical injury to the eye commonly causes ecchymosis of the highly vascular eyelids (black eye), and when this occurs other parts of the eye may also be injured. Superficial disruptions of the corneal epithelium follow traumatic abrasions, prolonged wearing of a contact lens, foreign bodies on the eye, exposure to ultraviolet light, and chemical exposure. Blunt trauma may rupture the eyeball especially at the corneoscleral junction, or immediately behind the insertion of the rectus muscles where the sclera is thinnest. Blunt injuries also increase the intraorbital pressure momentarily and may cause a blowout fracture. Enophthalmos and diminished motility caused by entrapment of the inferior rectus muscle often result. Direct trauma to the eye can also cause a retinal tear, retinal detachment, recession of the anterior chamber angle and secondary glaucoma [glaucoma - secondary], a dislocated lens, hyphema, [conjunctival hemorrhage [hemorrhage - conjunctiva], retinal hemorrhage [hemorrhage - retina], vitreous hemorrhage [hemorrhage - vitreous] and choroidal hemorrhage [hemorrhage - choroid].
Aside from direct trauma the eye can be affected by trauma to the neck [injury - neck], thorax [injury - thorax], bone [fracture - long bone] and other non-ocular tissues.