Blindness and scalp haematoma in a child following a snakebite

  • OS Katibi
  • FG Adepoju
  • BO Olorunsola
  • SK Ernest
  • KF Monsudi
Keywords: snakebite, blindness, scalp haematoma, child


Background: Snake envenomation is a major public health problem of the Savannah regions of West Africa. Ocular manifestations of snakebites are rare with few reports documenting blindness as a complication.
Objective: To highlight an unusual manifestation of snake bites and its attendant problems
Methods: A report of scalp haematoma and blindness in a 10 year old child presenting 2 weeks after a snake bite (presumably carpet viper) is a rare manifestation. Local swelling, epistaxis, bilateral proptosis, exposure keratopathy and use of traditional eye medications were associated findings.  Anti-venom though administered late saved the child’s life but blindness could not be reversed.
Results: Ocular ultrasonography revealed layered retrobulbar collection in the left eye, presumably due to hemorrhage. The skull x-ray showed a soft tissue swelling and aspirate from scalp swelling was bloody. Cranial Computed Tomography (CT) scan done late detected no abnormalities.
Conclusion: Snakebite is associated with lifelong morbidity. Ocular manifestations must be treated as emergency. This case highlights the effect of ignorance and poverty in a setting of a common medical  emergency leading to blindness and reduced quality of life.

Keywords: snakebite, blindness, scalp haematoma, child


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1680-6905