Background: The use of infant pacifiers (dummies) is common in Australasian communities and has been reported to be associated with various injuries, but to date ocular trauma has not been reported.
Case report: A 14-month-old child sustained a penetrating eye injury from the infant pacifier that was in his mouth during a minor fall. Only a lid laceration was detected at the time. One week later he presented with mydriasis, heterochromia and a poor red reflex. Diagnosis of a penetrating eye injury was made by examination under anaesthesia, with B-scan ultrasonography demonstrating hypotony but no retinal detachment or intraocular foreign body. Funduscopy revealed a small inferior vitreous haemorrhage. Exploration of the globe adjacent to the lid wound showed a 6 mm laceration through the sclera plugged with prolapsed vitreous.
Conclusion: Serious ocular injury may result after a minor fall with some designs of rigid infant pacifiers. Heterochromia and anisocoria noted by the mother heralded more serious ocular injury in this case. The delay in diagnosis of this injury emphasizes the importance of ocular examination to exclude eye trauma when injuries occur around the orbit.