Diagnosis and treatment of retrobulbar haematomas following blunt orbital trauma: a description of eight cases

G Gerbino, G A Ramieri, A Nasi
International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 2005, 34 (2): 127-31
Retrobulbar haematoma following blunt orbital trauma is a rare, but potentially serious, complication, since it can evolve rapidly from visual impairment to permanent loss of vision. This sight-threatening situation most commonly arises from orbital bleeding accompanying undisplaced fractures of the orbital walls, an event that increases the pressure inside the orbit and results in vascular damage to the optic nerve. The clinical presentation includes pain, exophthalmos with proptosis, and internal ophthalmoplegia, with impairment or loss of the pupillary reflex. A thin-layer orbital CT scan is an essential diagnostic aid. Any delay between the onset of symptoms and treatment can have a significant effect on functional recovery. Therapy is based on orbital decompression, via different surgical approaches, with the intention of reducing the pressure on the nerve and vascular structures inside the orbit. This paper presents eight cases of retrobulbar haematoma and their follow-up, in detail.

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