Self-inflicted enucleations: Clinical features of seven cases

Mamta Shah, Lucy Sun, Solly Elmann, Ivan Vrcek, Ronald Mancini, Hee Joon Kim, Jacqueline Carrasco, Roman Shinder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We report the clinical presentation, radiography, and management outcomes of autoenucleations (AE). Charts of 7 patients evaluated at 4 institutions with AE were reviewed. Four males and three females had a mean age of 50 years (range 26–72 years). The etiologies were psychosis secondary to underlying mental illness (6, 88%) and substance use (1, 12%), and the mechanism was largely blunt digital injury (6, 88%). Three (43%) AE patients suffered bilateral enucleations. Common concomitant injuries included eyelid lacerations (5, 71%) and optic nerve avulsion (3, 43%). Radiography was utilized for all of the study patients with computed tomography as the most common (5, 71%), followed by ultrasound (1, 14%), and magnetic resonance imaging with CT angiography (1, 14). Orbital exploration was performed in the management of all patients. Orbital implants were placed in 4 (57%) patients. Patients were followed for a mean of 1.9 months (range 1–4 months). Autoenucleation affects both genders and is commonly associated with eyelid lacerations, optic nerve avulsion, and intracranial hemorrhage. The association with intracranial hemorrhage is consistent with prior reports of internal carotid artery injury following shearing of the optic nerve. Autoenucleation cases were seen secondary to mental or substance induced psychosis, and these patients may be at risk for future injuries such as AE of the contralateral globe. The common causes for psychosis reported our patient group include schizophrenia, depression, schizoaffective disorder, and methamphetamine-induced psychosis, which corroborates with similar cases in the literature. Two of three cases of bilateral AE suffered sequential AE where the contralateral globe was enucleated days apart. All patients suffering AE should have full medical, psychiatric, neurologic, and radiologic evaluation and monitoring while under care. When evaluating patients with obvious ocular injury, accompanying intracranial injuries should be ruled out in a timely fashion before pursuing surgical intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-158
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 4 2017


  • Autoenucleation
  • enucleation
  • globe
  • optic nerve avulsion
  • psychosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


Dive into the research topics of 'Self-inflicted enucleations: Clinical features of seven cases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this