Skip to main content

Acute ocular traumatic imaging: what the radiologist should know

An Erratum to this article was published on 11 July 2017

This article has been updated


Acute ocular trauma accounts for a substantial number of emergency department visits in the USA, and represents a significant source of disability to patients; however, the orbits remain a potential blind spot for radiologists. The goal of this article is to review the relevant anatomy of the orbit and imaging findings associated with commonly encountered acute ocular traumatic pathology, while highlighting the salient information which should be reported to the ordering clinician. Topics discussed include trauma to the anterior and posterior chamber, lens dislocations, intraocular foreign bodies, and open and contained globe injuries.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13
Fig. 14
Fig. 15

Change history

  • 11 July 2017

    An erratum to this article has been published.


  1. 1.

    Channa R et al (2016) Epidemiology of eye-related emergency department visits. JAMA Ophthalmol 134(3):312–319

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Kuhn F et al (2002) Epidemiology and socioeconomics. Ophthalmol Clin N Am 15(2):145–151

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Bahrami S, Yim CM (2009) Quality initiatives: blind spots at brain imaging. Radiographics 29(7):1877–1896

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Turvey TA, Golden BA (2012) Orbital anatomy for the surgeon. Oral Maxillofac Surg Clin North Am 24(4):525–536

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Hayreh SS (2006) Orbital vascular anatomy. Eye 20(10):1130–1144

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Rene C (2006) Update on orbital anatomy. Eye (Lond) 20(10):1119–1129

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Kubal WS (2008) Imaging of orbital trauma. Radiographics 28(6):1729–1739

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Bowling B (2016) Kanski’s clinical ophthalmology: a systematic approach. Elsevier, London

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Weissman JL et al (1995) Enlarged anterior chamber: CT finding of a ruptured globe. Am J Neuroradiol 16(4):936–938

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Arey ML et al (2007) Computed tomography in the diagnosis of occult open-globe injuries. Ophthalmology 114(8):1448–1452

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Loporchio D et al (2016) Intraocular foreign bodies: a review. Surv Ophthalmol 61(5):582–596

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Koo L et al (2005) Gender differences in etiology and outcome of open globe injuries. J Trauma 59(1):175–178

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Yuan WH et al (2014) CT of globe rupture: analysis and frequency of findings. AJR Am J Roentgenol 202(5):1100–1107

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Patel SN et al (2012) Diagnostic value of clinical examination and radiographic imaging in identification of intraocular foreign bodies in open globe injury. Eur J Ophthalmol 22(2):259–268

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Fulcher TP, McNab AA, Sullivan TJ (2002) Clinical features and management of intraorbital foreign bodies. Ophthalmology 109(3):494–500

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Lakits A et al (1999) Orbital helical computed tomography in the diagnosis and management of eye trauma. Ophthalmology 106(12):2330–2335

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Gor DM et al (2001) Radiologic differentiation of intraocular glass: evaluation of imaging techniques, glass types, size, and effect of intraocular hemorrhage. AJR Am J Roentgenol 177(5):1199–1203

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Yamashita K et al (2007) An intraorbital wooden foreign body: description of a case and a variety of CT appearances. Emerg Radiol 14(1):41–43

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Ho VT, McGuckin JF, Smergel EM (1996) Intraorbital wooden foreign body: CT and MR appearance. Am J Neuroradiol 17(1):134–136

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Sung EK et al (2014) Injuries of the globe: what can the radiologist offer? Radiographics 34(3):764–776

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Johnston PB (1991) Traumatic retinal detachment. Br J Ophthalmol 75(1):18–21

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Joseph DP, Pieramici DJ, Beauchamp NJ Jr (2000) Computed tomography in the diagnosis and prognosis of open-globe injuries. Ophthalmology 107(10):1899–1906

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Li X, Zarbin MA, Bhagat N (2015) Pediatric open globe injury: a review of the literature. J Emerg Trauma Shock 8(4):216–223

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Bord SP, Linden J (2008) Trauma to the globe and orbit. Emerg Med Clin North Am 26(1):97–123 vi-vii

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Salvin JH (2007) Systematic approach to pediatric ocular trauma. Curr Opin Ophthalmol 18(5):366–372

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alok A. Bhatt.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

The original version of this article was revised: The correct article title is: “Acute ocular traumatic imaging: what the radiologist should know”.

An erratum to this article is available at

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Thelen, J., Bhatt, A.A. & Bhatt, A.A. Acute ocular traumatic imaging: what the radiologist should know. Emerg Radiol 24, 585–592 (2017).

Download citation


  • Ocular trauma
  • Orbits
  • Anterior chamber
  • Lens dislocation
  • Intraocular foreign body
  • Retinal detachment
  • Choroidal detachment
  • Vitreous hemorrhage
  • Open-globe injury