• Hyphema Treatment

Hyphema (8 Ball Fracture) Symptoms and Treatment

If you aren’t famil­iar with eight ball frac­ture, per­haps you’ve heard of its med­ical name, hyphe­ma. If that doesn’t ring a bell, you, no doubt, have seen it, in your­self or some­one else — a bright red spot on the white part of the eye.

Eight Ball Fracture Is Not a Game!

You won’t be alone if you imme­di­ate­ly envi­sioned Shel­don Cooper’s for­tune telling toy or a pop­u­lar pool game. How­ev­er, 8 ball frac­ture isn’t a game and is evi­dence of severe eye injury that needs imme­di­ate med­ical atten­tion.

A hyphe­ma is bleed­ing or bro­ken blood ves­sel in the eye that pools in the eye ante­ri­or cham­ber, the area between the cornea (the col­ored part of the eye) and the iris (the black cir­cle that enlarges and shrinks in response to light or the lack of it).

It’s not the same as sub­con­junc­ti­val hem­or­rhage, a pain­less but bright red spot that appears in the scle­ra, or white part of the eye.

A hyphe­ma is usu­al­ly painful and has sev­er­al grades of sever­i­ty rang­ing from 0, where the blood pool­ing can only be observed through micro­scop­ic exam­i­na­tion, to 4, a total hyphe­ma that fills the entire ante­ri­or cham­ber. This most severe form is the so-called 8 ball frac­ture. In between, there are dif­fer­ent grades that mea­sure how much blood has pooled.

In addi­tion to pain, a per­son with a hyphe­ma may also have dis­tort­ed or blurred vision, headache, and sen­si­tiv­i­ty to light. The last two indi­cate that there may be intraoc­u­lar pres­sure or high eye pres­sure, which can lead to glau­co­ma and per­ma­nent loss of vision.

What Causes a Hyphema?

Hyphe­ma is usu­al­ly the result of a trau­ma to the eye. And, while we may joke about a person’s black eye, it’s impor­tant to make sure that it isn’t hid­ing a hyphe­ma, detached reti­na, cataract, or con­cus­sion. For that rea­son, hard hits to the eye should be exam­ined by a med­ical pro­fes­sion­al. Peo­ple with hemo­phil­ia or dia­betes, or who take blood thin­ners can expe­ri­ence a spon­ta­neous hyphe­ma. Hyphe­ma rarely occurs after eye surgery and is con­sid­ered a com­pli­ca­tion.

Hyphema Treatment Includes Restrictions on Activity and Medication

Hyphe­ma treat­ment depends on the sever­i­ty of the case. Vir­tu­al­ly all patients with it are told to lim­it their phys­i­cal activ­i­ty, wear an eye patch as it heals, and sleep with their heads ele­vat­ed to help the blood clear out and pre­vent addi­tion­al bleed­ing. Some may be put on bed rest.

More severe cas­es may require pre­scrip­tion anti-inflam­ma­to­ry or pain med­ica­tion, includ­ing steroid eye drops to soothe inflam­ma­tion or dilat­ing eye drops to relieve pain. Do not take NSAIDs like ibupro­fen because these can trig­ger re-bleed­ing in the eye.

There will be fol­low-up vis­its to eval­u­ate the heal­ing and assess the dam­age. It’s impor­tant to under­stand that re-bleed­ing can occur days after the injury has been assessed.

If the hyphe­ma does not clear up, surgery may be required because the blood can pre­vent the eye canals from drain­ing and result in intraoc­u­lar pres­sure.

January 22nd, 2019|Comments Off on Hyphema (8 Ball Fracture) Symptoms and Treatment

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