Can My Sinking Eyeball After An Eye Socket Fracture Be Fixed?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I got punched in the face a year ago and my eyeball has been sinking since. I am pretty sure  that I fractured my eye socket but it was never treated. I didn’t go to the hospital when it happened at the time. My eye got very bruised and swollen afterwards and it took about three weeks for all of it to go away. I’d like to know if my eye will keep sinking. Please see the photo and let me know if you think this problem can be fixed. Thank you.

A: The description of your facial injury most certainly sounds like an orbital floor fracture. This is classic for orbital trauma as the thin bone of the floor of the eye blows out and downward as a decompression mechanism for protection of the eyeball. When displaced and untreated, the eyeball will sink downward afterwards as the floor that supports it is lower. After a year, the eyeball should sink no lower as the soft tissues under the eyeball has fully settled into the hole in the orbital floor. The level of your eyeball can be restored by orbital floor reconstruction. The scarred soft tissues under the eye can be freed up and the bony hole rebuilt/covered with either thin synthetic materials or bone grafts. This will bring the horizontal level of the eyeball up to its preinjury position.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana