When one or more bones around the eye are broken, the condition is called an orbital fracture. This may involve the roof, floor, lateral or medial walls of the orbit. An orbital fracture usually occurs after some type of injury or secondary to some blunt trauma to the face. Depending on the severity of the trauma, it can involve other facial bones as well. Orbital fractures can be associated with severe eye injury or damage, so a full ophthalmic exam should be undertaken.
Symptoms of orbital fracture can include swelling of the eyelids, pain in the eye, double vision, bruising around the eye, sunken eye, numbness of upper teeth and decreased movement of the affected eye.
The diagnosis of facial and orbital fractures is based on an initial comprehensive clinical exam followed by imaging studies, such as a CAT scan. It is possible that one of the extraocular muscles (the muscles which move the eye) may be entrapped in the fracture, in which case the surgical repair should be undertaken as soon as possible within a few days. If there is no entrapment of the muscles, most ophthalmologists wait one or two weeks for the swelling to subside before proceeding with a surgical repair.