Unrecognized microscopic hyphema masquerading as a closed head injury

Pediatrics. 1998 Sep;102(3 Pt 1):652-4. doi: 10.1542/peds.102.3.652.


Objective: To present a child with an unrecognized microscopic traumatic hyphema and acute glaucoma who was initially treated as a closed head injury patient.

Design: Case report and discussion.

Results: Symptoms attributable to unrecognized occult ocular injury in a child with sickle cell trait resulted in evaluation and treatment of the child for a closed head injury. Evaluation included a computed tomography scan of the head and lumbar puncture. An ophthalmologic consultation later revealed a microscopic hyphema and acute glaucoma as the etiology of the child's signs and symptoms.

Conclusions: Children who present with neurologic symptoms and a history of ocular trauma should undergo an ophthalmologic examination as soon as possible. Hyphema, even if not readily visible on physical examination, can result in the development of acute glaucoma with signs and symptoms that resemble a closed head injury.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Eye Injuries / complications*
  • Glaucoma / etiology
  • Head Injuries, Closed / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Hyphema / diagnosis*
  • Hyphema / etiology
  • Male
  • Sickle Cell Trait / complications