Buphthalmos and phthisis bulbi

Case contributed by Dr Chris O'Donnell


Bilateral blindness with exophthalmos on the right and enophthalmos on the left. Recent head injury.

Patient Data

Age: 35 years
Gender: Male

Enlarged obliquely ovoid globe on the right with a contracted heavily calcified globe on the left.

Case Discussion

Buphthalmos is the descriptive term for generalized enlargement of the globe usually seen in infants and young children due to the presence of congenital glaucoma. The name derives from the Ancient Greek referring to the bulging eyes of cows (i.e. bull's eye). It is contrasted with staphyloma characterized by focal thinning of the choroid leading to local bulging of the globe.

Phthisis bulbi is the descriptive term for an atrophic, non-functional globe. It can result from severe eye disease, inflammation and injury including eye surgery. The word phthisis, from Ancient Greek, indicates a progressively wasting or consumptive condition (and is also applied to tuberculosis).

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Case information

rID: 33073
Published: 30th Dec 2014
Last edited: 14th Aug 2019
System: Head & Neck
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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