Leslie Rose emailed this question:
If someone was impaled in the eye by a something about the consistency of a stiff palm frond what kind of damage would there be to:
A) Cause bleeding
B) Impair sight
Great question. I'm not an ophthalmologist, so I'll do my best with this answer.
Obviously, the idea of a stiff, razor-sharp, pointy palm frond in the eyeball would make anyone shiver (and maybe gag. Just a little.) So get the gagging over with, and let's see what we can do for this poor character!
When the wall of the eyeball is broken through from trauma, it is called an open globe injury. This case would be called more specifically an open globe laceration, and often accompanies an intraocular foreign body (fancy term for some thing from the trauma left over inside the eye). I didn't include a picture, but you could probably imagine the coffee-spewings that might occur if I did. And I don't want to pay for anyone's broken laptop so...if you're brave, Google "open globe laceration." But let the Googler beware. ;)
So. Would it bleed?
Yes, but the eyeball wouldn't necessarily be dripping blood. The white of the eye (the sclera) would likely be very reddened from irritation and bleeding would occur around the area of the wound beneath the thin membrane (conjunctiva) that covers the sclera (called a subconjuctival hemorrhage.)
Would it impair sight? Depends.
Most penetrating globe injuries include trauma to the cornea (the clear covering over the iris, or colored part, of your eye). The vision right after the injury helps predict whether the vision will stay bad. For example, if the vision is still decent and medical help is sought immediately, it's in the character's favor that they'll keep good vision in the eye.
But, if vision is really poor after the injury (can barely read anything on an eye chart, or can barely see a hand waving in front of their face, or differentiate between light and dark), that's a poor prognosis.
Other signs of a bad outcome are:
- character can't be seen by an ophthalmologist and have surgery (if necessary) within 24 hours.
- residual palm frond is stuck in the eye, causing infection (endophthalmitis)
- other injuries, like a eyelid laceration, detached retina, broken eye socket bone
- blunt trauma to the eye
- if the vitreous got extruded from the eye. (That's the fancy way to say "eyeball jelly spurting out." Sorry, guys.)
There you go Leslie! So basically, her character's vision in that eye would depend on how severe the injury was, and how quickly they could seek modern medical help with an ophthalmologist.
(Just an aside, let me tell you how happy I was when I finally figured out how to spell OPHTHALMOLOGIST correctly in med school. So proud. Look at how many H's there are in that word! And that wonky LM!)
I'm sure your eyes are watering. Keep them away from palm fronds, okay?