High risk and low prevalence diseases: Open globe injury

Jessica Pelletier, Alex Koyfman, Brit Long

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: Open globe injury (OGI) is a rare but serious condition that carries with it a high rate of morbidity. Objective: This review highlights the pearls and pitfalls of OGI, including presentation, diagnosis, and management in the emergency department (ED) based on current evidence. Discussion: OGI refers to full-thickness injury to the layers of the eye. OGI can be caused by blunt or sharp trauma, and subtypes include penetration, perforation, intraocular foreign body (IOFB), globe rupture, or mixed types. OGI is more common in males and usually secondary to work-related injury, but in women it is most commonly associated with falls. Emergency clinicians should first assess for and manage other critical, life-threatening injuries. Following this assessment, a thorough eye examination is necessary. Computed tomography (CT) may suggest the disease, but it cannot definitively exclude the diagnosis. While point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is highly sensitive and specific for some findings in OGI, its use is controversial due to potential globe content extrusion. Management includes protecting the affected eye from further injury, preventing Valsalva maneuvers that could extrude ocular contents, updating tetanus vaccination status, administering broad-spectrum antibiotics, and ophthalmology consultation for surgical intervention to prevent the sequelae of blindness and endophthalmitis. Conclusion: An understanding of OGI can assist emergency clinicians in diagnosing and managing this sight-threatening traumatic process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-120
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Globe laceration
  • Globe rupture
  • Intraocular foreign body
  • Open globe injury
  • Ophthalmology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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