Stars in his eyes, an unfortunate accident

A very strange side effect of electrical shock is described here.

Shock Leaves Man With Star-Shaped Cataracts – ABC News.

Yes, you can have stars in your eyes. Unfortunately. That’s the lesson one electrician learned the hard way.

The unidentified man, 42, developed star-shaped cataracts after being shocked by 14,000 volts of electricity on his shoulder.

More: Electrical burn causes star-shaped cataracts in patient’s eyes – NBC

Here is the original piece in New England Journal of Medicine. Ocular Manifestation of Electrical Burn — NEJM.

starry eyed

He had trouble with his eyesight a few weeks after getting shocked in an accident related to his job as an electrician. The star-shapes appeared in both eyes. The optic nerve conducts electricity.

“The optic nerve is similar to any wire that conducts electricity. In this case, the extreme current and voltage that passed through this important natural wire caused damage to the optic nerve itself,” said Dr. Bobby Korn, who treated the man.

The reason for star shaped cataracts occurring is still not completely understood. In some studies on animals, it appears that when the lens comes into contact with electricity, small bubbles form, called vacuoles, which eventually merge to form the star shaped cataracts.

I found another case of a star-shaped cataract in the eye caused by a punch.

Punch Leaves Man With Star-Shaped Cataract : Discovery News.

Tip: Joy Harris

  3 comments for “Stars in his eyes, an unfortunate accident

  1. January 25, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    Hope he recovers or the operation a success. Having had a cataract op under local (i’m a naughty anti social smoker, & refused to give me a general) know how scary the vision loss & blurring is, let alone the pain & fear of the electrocution.

  2. January 25, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    That pattern looks quite similar to the zig zag lines of a migraine aura I sometimes get. Sometimes the are just single lines that float around in one eye, but sometimes a zig zag circle forms around the field of vision of one eye. It really freaked me out the first time it happened and I didn’t know what it was.

  3. January 25, 2014 at 4:30 PM

    Star cataracts can also come about from frequent exposure to high level radio frequency energy. It is not unknown in my industry, wireless communications. However, you have to spend a fair amount of time within arm’s length of live antennas over a period of years as I have.

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