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International Journal of Emergency Medicine





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Background: Spontaneous globe subluxation (SGS) is an atraumatic anterior dislocation of the eyeball. It is exceedingly rare. Understanding SGS predisposing factors may help uncover its etiology and undertake vision-saving management. Case presentation: A 48-year-old female presented to the ED with her right eye out of its socket. She reported blurry vision, photophobia, and pain in the affected eye. She was unable to close her right eyelid and was in obvious distress. On arrival, her blood pressure was elevated. Her medical history was notable for hypertension and obesity. On physical examination, extraocular eye movements were not intact, and the globe appeared whole and round. She was also unable to count fingers with the affected eye. There was no visible trauma to the face. Multiple wet gauzes with sterile saline were placed over the displaced eyeball. Direct and even pressure was applied on the globe. Within 30 s, the globe was reduced back in. The patient was able to close her eyelids and reports substantial pain relief with reduction. A CT scan of the orbits was then obtained, demonstrating mild bilateral proptosis. The globes were normal and symmetric. No intraconal or extraconal abscess or infection was seen. There were no intraconal or extraconal masses. There was no acute orbital traumatic injury, no avulsion of the optic nerve, ocular rupture, or retrobulbar hematoma. After reviewing the case with an ophthalmologist, a follow-up appointment with the ophthalmologist was arranged. The patient was discharged on erythromycin ointment. Post-discharge investigation of the CT imaging revealed dilated optic nerve sheaths, tortuosity of the optic nerve, and empty sella. Conclusions: In addition to causing distress and severe anxiety, SGS poses numerous immediate as well as long-term complications. Traction of the optic nerve and retinal vasculature may potentially cause retinal venous congestion and loss of visual acuity with potential vision loss. In the absence of known risk factors or disease processes, orbital imaging and serological studies for thyroid ophthalmopathy should be considered.


Floppy eyelid syndrome; Globe reduction; Graves’ orbitopathy; Hypertension; Idiopathic intracranial hypertension; Spontaneous globe subluxation


Emergency Medicine

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