Ocular trauma: at the sharp end

28 October 2020
Autumn 2020

A&E optometrists can see everything from DIY mishaps to domestic violence in a day's work, writes Steve Smethurst.

Managing ocular trauma isn’t for the faint-hearted. If someone microwaves an egg that explodes in their face, for example, it will likely damage most of the corneal epithelium and you’ll need tweezers to pick shell fragments from their conjunctiva and eyelid. 

“The most memorable cases are all quite horrible,” says Gordon Hay, Service Director for Emergency Services at Moorfields Eye Hospital. “We’ve had patients who checked why a nail gun wasn’t working by looking at the firing end, spiky toys in children, motorbike accidents and even the misfiring of an airbag while a mechanic was repairing it.”

Moorfields has recently increased the number of optometrists working in its emergency and urgent care facilities. Each session now has at least one optometrist, and A&E has 12 in total. 

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