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Evaluation of Traumatic Uveitis in the Emergency Department

Pinch, Colleen M., MSN

Section Editor(s): Jordan, Kathleen S. DNP, RN, FNP-C, ENP-C, SANE-P, FAEN; Column Editor

Advanced Emergency Nursing Journal: April/June 2019 - Volume 41 - Issue 2 - p 122–128
doi: 10.1097/TME.0000000000000243

Eye trauma is a common presenting complaint in the emergency department. Correctly identifying the underlying pathology in eye trauma is critical to developing appropriate treatment plans that reduce the risk of long-term sequelae, and reduce or eliminate threats to vision. The clinical evaluation and diagnosis can be complex, and the presentation of serious eye conditions can be similar to that of more benign conditions. This article focuses on traumatic uveitis. It addresses the elements of history and examination that should suggest uveitis as the cause of pain and redness following trauma to the eye. It also outlines specific findings that can help differentiate uveitis from other causes of eye pain and redness following trauma. Included is a brief description of the pathophysiology of uveitis and the mechanism by which this inflammatory condition can result in loss of vision. Discussion includes recommended treatment. It offers a straightforward approach to making the diagnosis of traumatic uveitis.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge.

Corresponding Author: Colleen M. Pinch, MSN, 14 Eleanor Street, Dedham, MA 02026 (

Disclosure: The author reports no conflicts of interest.

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