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The Impaled Human Eye, And Why It Is Such A Terrifying Injury Until Your Eye Doctor Repairs It

by Luukas Harju

In nearly every horror movie you see, some character suffers from impalement of the eye. Horrifying work accidents involve metal, wood splinters, and glass flying into the eye. There are few injuries that make most people very uncomfortable and very queasy at the same time as the impaling of the eye by a foreign object. Here is why this is such a terrifying injury to most, and how an eye doctor can make the injury just a bad memory. 

You Could Go Blind from Such an Injury

Depending on how deeply the foreign object pierces the eyeball, you may or may not go blind from it. The idea of being blind in one eye is scary to people who have had their sight all of their lives and now will have to adjust to life with sight in just one eye. There are a lot of things you cannot do anymore when you lose your vision, including drive, watch a movie, perceive depth, etc., and the fear of loss of vision is that terrifying because it symbolizes the loss of personal freedom and personal choice. As long as the foreign object does not pierce the retina or the optic nerve, an eye doctor can repair the damage to the eyeball and restore most, if not all, of your sight in that eye. 

A Deep Enough Object Reaches the Brain

If you were to look at the brain and the eyes outside of the skull, the eyes are in almost direct contact with the brain. They sit right under the frontal lobe, which controls emotion, and right in front of the back part of your brain. The optic nerves connect the eyes to the back of the brain, where visual signals are interpreted. If a large enough foreign object is impaled through the eye, it can also damage the brain. That thought is even more terrifying to people than the loss of sight because brain damage impacts so much more than just being able to see. In the event that an object is this far inside your head, the eye doctor has to work with other medical professionals, such as a brain surgeon and a neurologist, to make sure that the removal of the foreign object will cause the least amount of brain damage as possible. 

Managing Such an Injury Before You See an Emergency Room Eye Doctor

First and foremost, if you ever get anything stuck in your eyeball, NEVER remove it yourself! The fluid within the eyeball is what will save the eye unless you remove the object and all of the fluid drains out, causing the eyeball to collapse. An eye doctor will not only remove the object with great skill, but he/she will also manage to stitch up the eyeball or laser it such that it will heal and make as full a recovery as it can.