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Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3161
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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Hi, I am a 21 y/o male, myopic contact-wearer. As I took off

Customer Question

Hi,
I am a 21 y/o male, myopic contact-wearer. As I took off a t-shirt this morning, the elastic neck band snapped against my right eye, which was not wearing a contact. Pain was minimal and short-lived; I noticed no redness.

I am wearing contacts now, but I am worried about having caused a retinal tear, hole, or detachment. I already experience 24/7 (bilateral) floaters and afterimages, which have been evaluated by retina specialists, who found no associated pathology. I do not notice a curtain effect or other large visual changes today, but I fear that my preexisting visual phenomena may prevent me from noticing changes.

I have an appointment with an ophthalmologist for next Tuesday. Can this wait until then, or should I go to the ER now to be evaluated for retinal changes caused by the t-shirt injury?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 2 years ago.

Doctor DanB :

Hello and thanks for your question. Are you available to chat?

Customer:

yes

Doctor DanB :

I think you are very well-informed about symptoms of a retinal tear or detachment, it sounds like. I think this can wait until next Tuesday provided your symptoms are stable. What I would look out for if I were, and which would prompt me to be seen quicker than that, is if there is 1) a sudden change in the floaters (ie instead of seeing a handful of them, seeing a giant screen of floaters or several large ones where maybe they were smaller before), 2) flashing or arcing lights (which are different from after images of objects that you've recently viewed; these appear as tiny sparkles or arcs of light that are usually quick and fleeting; if you have these occasionally and intermittently, it should worry you if they become more consistent and persistent, more numerous. If you don't have them at all, then the development of them period should make you nervous. In addition, the development of a curtain, veil, or shade over the vision; or if the vision suddenly worsens significantly and doesn't improve after several minutes.

Doctor DanB :

Does that make sense?

Customer:

Yes. How frequently do injuries like these result in retinal problems? I understand that I am at increased risk because I am myopic. May I keep wearing contacts - i.e. is a corneal abrasion likely?

Doctor DanB :

I think it's fine to continue to wear the contact lenses, especially if there hasn't been any significant irritation or redness, but yes, occasionally these types of injuries can cause a corneal abrasion (although they usually aren't silent--you'd know by now from the symptoms). As far as the frequency of these types of injuries causing retinal problems--it's difficult to say as there isn't any hard data available about these specific injuries and retinal problems. But in my experience, it is not very common--it usually takes a pretty good thump to the eye with something of more mass and girth to cause a retinal injury.

Customer:

ok; thanks for your time.

Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3161
Experience: Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
Dr. Dan B. and other Eye Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 2 years ago.

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My opinion is solely informative and does not constitute a formal medical opinion or recommendation. For a formal medical opinion and/or recommendation you must see an eye doctor.

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