Penetrating Orbital Injury by Automobile Wiper-Control Stalk | Critical Care Medicine | JAMA Ophthalmology | JAMA Network
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Case Reports and Small Case Series
December 2000

Penetrating Orbital Injury by Automobile Wiper-Control Stalk

Arch Ophthalmol. 2000;118(12):1701-1703. doi:

A restrained driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed his truck into a tree. He was found walking near the crash site with a windshield wiper stalk impaled in his right cheek. It had penetrated the right maxillary sinus, both ethmoid sinuses, and the left orbit, contusing his left optic nerve and rendering him blind in that eye. To our knowledge, no such injury has ever been documented. Using data obtained from the crash site, we present a hypothetical reconstruction of the accident.

A 21-year-old man fell asleep at the wheel and crashed his truck into a tree. He was found fully alert and walking near the scene, with the windshield wiper stalk impaled into his right cheek (Figure 1 and Figure 2). It had pierced the gingiva and penetrated the right maxillary, both ethmoid sinuses, and the left orbit, deviating and contusing the left optic nerve (Figure 3). The injury rendered him blind in his left eye and partially ophthalmoplegic.

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