Clinical recommendations for repair of isolated orbital floor fractures: an evidence-based analysis

Ophthalmology. 2002 Jul;109(7):1207-10; discussion 1210-1; quiz 1212-3. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(02)01057-6.


Purpose: To assess the quality of information in the literature and suggest guidelines for repair of isolated orbital floor fractures.

Clinical relevance: Orbital floor fractures are a common result of orbital injury. Enophthalmos, diplopia resulting from extraocular muscle dysfunction, and infraorbital nerve hypesthesia may occur. The indications and timing for fracture repair are still controversial.

Literature reviewed: A MEDLINE literature review was performed using PubMed. Articles published from 1983 to the present were retrieved using the key words, "orbital floor fracture, orbital trap-door fracture, and orbital blow-out fracture." Suggested indications and timing for repair of isolated orbital floor fractures were extracted from selected articles. Each recommendation was rated according to its importance in the care process and strength of evidence supporting the given recommendation.

Results: No prospective randomized clinical trials on the treatment of orbital floor fractures have been performed. Despite this, most recommendations were rated as most important to patient care (A) and had strong support for treatment (level I).

Conclusions: The timing and treatment indications for orbital floor fractures are evolving. Nonresolving oculocardiac reflex, the "white-eyed" blowout fracture, and early enophthalmos or hypoglobus are indications for immediate surgical repair. Surgery within 2 weeks is recommended in cases of symptomatic diplopia with positive forced ductions and evidence of orbital soft tissue entrapment on computed tomography examination or large orbital floor fractures that may cause latent enophthalmos or hypo-ophthalmos.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diplopia / etiology
  • Enophthalmos / etiology
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures
  • Orbit / injuries*
  • Orbital Fractures / classification
  • Orbital Fractures / etiology
  • Orbital Fractures / surgery*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Time Factors