Eye Injuries and Eye Socket Fracture

Also known as: fracture of the orbit, orbital fracture.

What is an eye socket fracture?

The eye socket (or orbit) is the bony opening/cup in the skull that both protects and surrounds the eye. If one or more bones surrounding the eye is broken (fractured) it's known as an eye socket or orbital fracture.

What causes eye socket fracture?

Fractures of the eye socket rim are frequently caused by direct impact to the face, often by the dashboard or steering wheel of car during a car crash. When this occurs other injuries to the eye, the sinuses around the eye, tear duct and brain may also occur. A fracture of the floor bone (“blow out fracture”) can occur when the eye is hit by an object larger than the eye socket like a baseball or fist.  Sometimes the orbital rim fracture extends into the floor of the eye socket (“direct orbital floor fracture”).  This frequently happens not only in car crashes but also during contact sports, assaults, or while doing home repair projects where the blunt object may be a hammer, or piece of lumber or other object.

What are the symptoms of eye socket fracture?

Symptoms vary depending on the location and severity of the fracture. Common symptoms include; a “black eye”, double or blurry or decreased vision, pain, swelling, facial deformities (a flattened cheek), numbness of the forehead eyelids and upper lip, and air under the skin near the eye.

What are eye socket fracture care options?

Minor fractures can heal on their own with ice packs to the face, rest, pain relievers and an antibiotic may be prescribed to prevent infection. Vision problems frequently resolve without treatment. Surgery may be required for severe fractures particularly if the involve the eye.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: September 06, 2019 03:14 PM