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Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 2013 Jan-Feb;29(1):e31-3. doi: 10.1097/IOP.0b013e318263c595.

Diesel fuel injury to the orbit.

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  • 1Oculoplastic and Orbital Surgery Service, Wills Eye Institute, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.


A 48-year-old man was seen in the Wills Eye Institute emergency room for pain and decreased vision after having a diesel engine fuel cylinder explosion in his face. Clinical examination showed proptosis, decreased extraocular motility, and increased intraocular pressure; CT scan imaging revealed hypodense areas within the orbit. His orbital signs rapidly worsened despite aggressive antibiotics, steroids, and surgical intervention. Two orbitotomies revealed diesel fuel infiltration of the intraconal and extraconal spaces that proved impossible to evacuate completely. The patient ended up losing vision from an intense chemical cellulitis with subsequent orbital compartment syndrome and optic neuropathy. This case highlights the severity of orbital chemical injuries and their variable prognoses despite aggressive management.

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