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Eye Socket Fracture (Orbital Fracture)


 What is an eye socket fracture?
 What is the cause?
 What are the symptoms?
 How is it diagnosed?
 How is it treated?
 How can I take care of my child?
 How can I prevent eye socket fractures?

Eye Socket Fracture: Illustration
Eye Socket Fracture: IllustrationClick here to view a full size picture.

What is an eye socket fracture?

The eye socket, or orbit, is made up of the bones that surround the eye. If the bones around your child’s eye are hit hard enough, they can break. This is called an orbital fracture.

If your child’s eye socket is treated successfully, and the injury to your child’s eye or tissues around the eye was not too severe, your child may not have any long-lasting effects from an eye socket fracture. If an eye socket fracture is not treated, your child may develop a serious infection within the eyeball. Your child may also have double vision for the rest of his life.

What is the cause?

Injuries that can cause an eye socket fracture include:

One type of eye socket fracture that may not look bad, yet can cause serious problems, is a trapdoor fracture. The bone under your child’s eye can swing down when broken and then swing shut, trapping the muscle that moves the eye down. Even if the bones do not look broken, a trapdoor fracture causes pain, severe double vision, nausea, and vomiting. This type of fracture is more common in children because their bones are more flexible than adult bones.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may include:

How is it diagnosed?

Your eyecare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and your child’s injury, and do exams and tests such as:

How is it treated?

Your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics to prevent infections. Your provider may also prescribe steroid pills to decrease swelling.

Some eye socket fractures need to be repaired and others do not. Your child’s fracture may need to be treated if:

If your child’s eye was injured when the eye socket was broken, your child’s eye also may need treatment.

How can I take care of my child?

Follow the full course of treatment your healthcare provider prescribes. Also:

Ask your healthcare provider:

Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup.

How can I prevent eye socket fractures?

Reviewed for medical accuracy by faculty at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins. Web site: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/wilmer/

healthinformatics info

Reference Sources:

American Academy of Ophthalmology. 2012-2013 Basic and Clinical Science Course. San Francisco: American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2012; v.1-13.

Miller NR, Newman NJ, Biousse V and Kerrison JB, eds. Walsh and Hoyt’s Clinical Neuro-Ophthalmology, 6th ed. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2004;v.1-3.

Yanoff M and Duker JS. Ophthalmology, 3rd edition. Philadelphia: Mosby, 2008


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Last Modified: 2012-12-31

Last Reviewed: 2012-12-31

Website Updated: March 2014

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Published by RelayHealth. © 2014 RelayHealth and/or one of its affiliates. All Rights Reserved.

This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.


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