14,000 volt Shock Leaves Man With Star-Shaped Cataracts


The images from the New England Journal of Medicine above corresponds to a 42 year old man who was left with stars in his eyes after suffering from a 14,000-volt shock.

The electrician from California, United States, experienced the shock after his left shoulder got an electrical burn. Four weeks after the accident the man complained of vision problems and Dr Bobby Korn, who treated the patient, noticed “striking cataracts in both of his eyes”.

Dr Korn stated that the man’s optic nerve, which connects the brain to the eyes, was damaged. Optic nerve acts same as any wire that conducts electricity where a current will pass through it.

He further told that the eye is like a camera.

If the “lens” is damaged it can be revamped but if the “film” is damaged “then you’ll never get a good picture.”

His vision in both eyes was limited to acuity of hand motions, with an intraocular pressure of 14 mm Hg in each eye. The result of slit-lamp examination showed bilateral stellate anterior subcapsular opacities of the lens . Dilated funduscopic examination showed scattered cotton-wool spots and bilateral optic-nerve pallor, which was greatest in the left eye.

The man has had surgery to remove his star-stamped lenses but still suffers from poor vision due to damage to his optic nerve.

The reason behind the cataracts taking on a star shape is still not identified according to Korn. However, in the incidents including animal eyes damage by electricity, the damage initially appears as small bubbles which then combine to form a star.

After 4 months of the injury, the patient was operated for cataract extraction and implantation of an intraocular lens, but two years after the injury, his retina detached in his left eye, leaving that eye nearly incapacitated and the patient underwent repair. But the damage to his optic nerve made complete visual rehabilitation limited. He was able to read by using visual aids only.