Clin Exp Emerg Med.  2016 Sep;3(3):190-192. 10.15441/ceem.15.052.

Near-complete optic nerve transection by high-pressure air

  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Kyung Hee University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.


The use of high-pressure air instruments has become more common. Consequently, there have been a number of cases of orbital emphysema caused by contact with high-pressure air. In this case, a 62-year-old male patient visited an emergency medical center after his left eye was shot by an air compressor gun that was used to wash cars. Lacerations were observed in the upper and lower eyelids of his left eye. Radiological examinations revealed orbital emphysema, optic nerve transection, pneumocephalus, and subcutaneous emphysema in the face, neck, shoulder, and mediastinum. Canalicular injury repair was performed, and the emphysema resolved. However, there was near-complete vision loss in the patient's left eye. Because most optic nerve transections occur after a severe disruption in bone structure, pure optic nerve transections without any injury of the bone structure, as in the present case, is extremely rare.


Optic nerve injuries; Compressed air; Emphysema
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