SECO 2021: Tips for Treating Or Referring Common Traumatic Eye Injuries

Blood in the eye from a subconjunctival hemorrhage usually disappears within a week or two.Human eye and blood close up.
A course helps optometrists distinguish which traumatic presentations require referrals, and how to treat those that do not.

The following article is a part of Ophthalmology Advisor’s conference coverage of the Southeastern Educational Congress of Optometry (SECO) 2021, held in Atlanta and virtually from April 28 to May 2, 2021. The team at Ophthalmology Advisor will be reporting on the presentations offered by these leading experts in optometry and ophthalmology. Check back for more from the SECO 2021 Meeting.


Traumatic eye injuries account for approximately a third of all eye-related emergency department visits in the United States each year.1 During SECO 2021, Michelle Welch, OD, will address the most common ocular trauma injuries, their impact on vision and potential to cause vision loss, common courses of treatment, and recommendations for when optometrists should refer patients to a specialist.2

During her talk “Ocular Trauma,” Dr Welch will review a variety of traumatic eye injuries, including lacerations to the lids and adnexa, iris sphincter tears, subconjunctival hemorrhage, choroidal rupture, blow-out fracture, conjunctival lacerations, and corneal lacerations and abrasions. 

She also will discuss how to rule out a ruptured globe, or corneal abrasion and share  strategies for when optometrists can conduct a foreign body removal.

Dr Welch will cover treatment protocols for lacerations, including when to order an ultrasound or CT scan, and when to refer patients with lacerations to a specialist, such as when the injury is associated with a ruptured globe, intraocular foreign body, or extensive tissue loss, or involves the lacrimal drainage system, levator muscle or superior rectus. 

Visit Ophthalmology Advisor’s conference section for complete coverage of the SECO 2021 Meeting and more.



1. Ramirez DA, Porco TC, Lietman TM, Keenan JD. Ocular Injury in United States Emergency Departments: Seasonality and Annual Trends Estimated from a Nationally Representative Dataset. Am J Ophthalmol. 2018;191:149-155. doi:10.1016/j.ajo.2018.04.020

2. Welch M. Ocular trauma. Presented at: Southeastern Educational Congress of Optometry (SECO) 2021 Annual Meeting; April 28-May 2, 2021; Atlanta, GA. Course 131.