Her pet cat scratched her eye and she landed in the emergency department with a painful eye. A scratch that threatened her vision!
While playing with her cat, a 10-year-old girl sustained a cat paw scratch to her right eye. Within 2 hours, she started to feel pain in her right eye. Her mother brought her to the emergency department when the girl could no longer bear the pain and had started to have blurred vision.
Before coming to the ER, the girl told her mother that she fell and hurt her eye. Therefore, the mother had offered her ice packs to apply to the eye. However, as time passed by, her vision got blurry and the pain became persistent, hence the ER visit.
The doctors in the ER noted a scratch on the cornea of her right eye.
Excessive water was running down her eye and the pain was increasing. However, she was able to move her eye ball in all directions without any pain.
The left eye was normal on examination.
Since the right eye was painful when kept open, the doctors instilled topical anaesthesia to examine the right eye thoroughly. Examination of the right eye under ultraviolet light showed an isolated corneal laceration.
The doctors suspected corneal laceration due to cat scratch and consulted an eye specialist who confirmed the diagnosis of corneal laceration.
The girl received antibiotic drops for her affected eye and the doctor strongly advised the mother to start the treatment as soon as possible and also instructed them to return for a follow-up in 3 days. Additionally, she received a tetanus vaccination as she had missed her booster dose earlier. Since the cat was an indoor pet, rabies risks were dismissed.
At the 3-day follow-up, the right eye had improved substantially. The girl had only a mild gritty sensation. However, the doctor advised her to continue the eye drops and be careful around the family cat.
With all cases of cat scratch inflicted eye (corneal) injuries, it is highly imperative to start the management promptly to prevent vision loss. Moreover, for all animal inflicted injuries, a tetanus shot is recommended if the patient has not received the booster dose in the past 5 years.