Cataracts, bilateral macular holes, and rhegmatogenous retinal detachment induced by lightning

Am J Ophthalmol. 1999 Feb;127(2):216-7. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(98)00294-3.


Purpose: To report ocular injuries, including a unilateral rhegmatogenous retinal detachment, induced by lightning.

Method: Case report. A 30-year-old man was injured by lightning.

Results: The patient developed a severe decrease in visual acuity in both eyes, an afferent pupillary defect in his left eye, bilateral cataracts, posterior vitreous detachments, macular holes, and an inferotemporal retinal detachment with an associated flap retinal tear in his left eye.

Conclusions: This is a case of bilateral cataracts, posterior vitreous detachments, macular holes, and a unilateral retinal detachment associated with lightning. We postulate that the heating of the retinal surface, the concussive forces on the eye, and a sudden lateral contraction of the attached vitreous resulted in bilateral posterior vitreous detachments and a unilateral peripheral retinal break.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cataract / etiology*
  • Cataract / pathology
  • Cataract Extraction
  • Eye Diseases / etiology
  • Eye Injuries / etiology*
  • Eye Injuries / pathology
  • Eye Injuries / surgery
  • Humans
  • Lens, Crystalline / injuries*
  • Lens, Crystalline / pathology
  • Lightning Injuries / complications*
  • Male
  • Retina / injuries*
  • Retina / pathology
  • Retinal Detachment / etiology*
  • Retinal Detachment / pathology
  • Retinal Detachment / surgery
  • Retinal Perforations / etiology*
  • Retinal Perforations / pathology
  • Retinal Perforations / surgery
  • Vitrectomy
  • Vitreous Body / pathology