Bedside ocular ultrasound in the emergency department

Bret A. Kilker, John M. Holst, Beatrice Hoffmann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The use of point-of-care ultrasound in the emergency department has expanded considerably in recent years, allowing enhanced evaluation of the patient with an emergent eye or vision complaint. The technique is simple and quick to perform, and can yield clinical information that may not be readily obtainable through physical or slit-lamp exams. Ocular bedside sonography can aid in the diagnosis of retinal and vitreous hemorrhage, retinal and vitreous detachments, ocular infections, foreign bodies, retrobulbar hematoma, or ocular vascular pathology. Optic nerve sheath diameter can be measured in patients with a suspected intracranial process as a surrogate for intracranial pressure, and may aid emergency diagnosis and management. This article reviews common emergency ophthalmic pathologies diagnosed with ultrasound in the emergency setting and a mnemonic for the use of bedside ocular ultrasound is proposed to aid in thoroughly scanning the eye and its surrounding structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-253
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • emergency ocular ultrasound
  • endophthalmitis
  • lens dislocation
  • ocular trauma
  • ophthalmic sonography
  • optic nerve sheath diameter measurement
  • retrobulbar air
  • retrobulbar hematoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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