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Dramatic Medical Case Photo Shows What Happens if Your Iris Peels Off

MICHELLE STARR
9 APR 2019

Did you know that the iris - the round, coloured structure in your eye - can detach? Yeah.

This phenomenon is called separation of the iris, or iridodialysis, and it can be just as unpleasant as it sounds.

 

The below picture, posted in a quiz by the New England Journal of Medicine, shows the crumpled iris of an unlucky 48-year-old patient who got hit in the eye with a bungee cord while trying to secure items on a motorcycle.

iridodialysis(NEJM)

After a week of eye pain, along with double and blurred vision, he went to the ophthalmology clinic, where a slit-lamp examination revealed traumatic iridodialysis - the specific form of the condition caused by trauma.

The patient's iris had detached right across the top hemisphere of his eye, and was sagging.

The most common cause of the iris tearing away from the ciliary body of the eye is traumatic - getting hit in the face. Cases have been reported from sports injuries, horse-related injuries, airbag deployment - basically any sort of blunt-force blow to the eye area.

When this happens, the patient can no longer regulate how much light is going into the eye. This can lead to complications - like photophobia, the pain we experience when light is too intense, along with double vision and glare.

In relatively mild cases, iridodialysis is managed with bed rest, but in more severe cases, surgery is needed to reattach the iris.

What became of this particular patient hasn't yet been revealed by the NEJM, but we'd be willing to bet that his injury required surgery. At least his iris didn't prolapse too (if you're squeamish, we're going to strongly suggest you don't look that one up).