Orbital fracture (broken bone)
General or Other | - Others | Orbital fracture (broken bone) (Disease)
Orbital fracture is a break in one of the bones that make up the orbit. Since the orbit is the seat of the globe (the eye), an orbital fracture can be a serious, sight-threatening break. The orbit is complexly constituted. It is made up of parts of six bones: the frontal, ethmoidal, lacrimal, and sphenoid bones and the maxilla and zygoma. A break in the orbit portion of one or more of these six bones is an orbital fracture.
Causes and Risk factors
Orbital fractures are caused by a direct impact to the face, most commonly by an automobile dashboard or steering wheel during a car crash. Because a great deal of force is required to cause these fractures, they often occur with extensive injuries to other facial bones, and sometimes injuries to the brain. Even if the damage is limited to the eye area, there may be additional injuries to the eye itself, such as the optic nerve (responsible for vision), the eye muscles, the nerves that provide sensation in the forehead and cheek, the sinuses around the eye and the tear duct.
There are two types of orbital rim fractures. A zygomatic fracture involves the lower edge of the eye rim, which is part of the cheekbone. A frontal bone fracture or frontal sinus fracture involves the upper edge of the eye rim, which is part of the foreheads frontal bone.
Indirect orbital floor fracture (blowout fracture). This occurs when the bony rim of the eye remains intact, but the paper thin floor of the eye socket cracks or ruptures. This can cause a small hole in the floor of the eye socket that can trap parts of the eye muscles and surrounding structures. The injured eye may not move normally in its socket, which can cause double vision. Most blowout fractures are caused by an impact to the front of the eye from something bigger than the eye opening, such as a baseball, a fist or an automobile dashboard.
Direct orbital floor fracture. If an orbital rim fracture extends into nearby parts of the eye socket floor, both the rim and the socket floor are fractured.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Treatment depends on the severity and location of your injury. For a small, uncomplicated blowout fracture that does not affect the movement of your eye, your doctor may prescribe ice packs, decongestants and an antibiotic to prevent infection. You may be told to rest for a few days and to avoid blowing your nose while the eye heals.
If the fracture is more severe, your doctor will refer you to a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who specializes in treating eye injuries. An ophthalmologist may be called in to deal with the double vision. This specialist will determine whether you need surgery to repair the broken bone.