Raccoon eyes

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Raccoon eyes
Other names Panda eyes
Man with racoon eyes.jpg
Bilateral raccoon eyes
Specialty Neurosurgery

Raccoon eyes (also known in the United Kingdom and Ireland as panda eyes) or periorbital ecchymosis is a sign of basal skull fracture or subgaleal hematoma, a craniotomy that ruptured the meninges, or (rarely) certain cancers.[1][2] Bilateral hemorrhage occurs when damage at the time of a facial fracture tears the meninges and causes the venous sinuses to bleed into the arachnoid villi and the cranial sinuses. In lay terms, blood from skull fracture seeps into the soft tissue around the eyes. Raccoon eyes may be accompanied by Battle's sign, an ecchymosis behind the ear. These signs may be the only sign of a skull fracture, as it may not show on an X-ray. They may not appear until up to two hours after the injury.[3] It is recommended that the patient not blow their nose, cough vigorously, or strain to prevent further tearing of the meninges.[4]

Raccoon eyes may be bilateral or unilateral.[5] If bilateral, it is highly suggestive of basilar skull fracture, with a positive predictive value of 85%. They are most often associated with fractures of the anterior cranial fossa.[6][7]

Raccoon eyes may also be a sign of disseminated neuroblastoma[8] or of amyloidosis (multiple myeloma). It also can be temporary result of rhinoplasty.

Depending on cause, raccoon eyes always require urgent consultation and management, that is surgical (facial fracture or post-craniotomy) or medical (neuroblastoma or amyloidosis).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Herbella, FA; Mudo M; Delmonti C; Braga FM; Del Grande JC (December 2001). "'Raccoon eyes' (periorbital haematoma) as a sign of skull base fracture". Injury. 32 (10): 745–47. doi:10.1016/S0020-1383(01)00144-9. PMID 11754879.
  2. ^ EMT Prehospital Care (4th Edition)
  3. ^ Handbook of Signs & Symptoms (Third Edition)
  4. ^ Nursing: Interpreting Signs and Symptoms
  5. ^ "Skull fractures. Step-by-step diagnostic approach". Best Practice, BMJ.
  6. ^ "BMJ Best Practice". bestpractice.bmj.com.
  7. ^ Visual Diagnosis in Emergency and Critical Care Medicine, Christopher P. Holstege, Alexander B. Baer, Jesse M. Pines, William J. Brady, p. 228
  8. ^ Gumus K (2007). "A child with raccoon eyes masquerading as trauma". Int Ophthalmol. 27 (6): 379–81. doi:10.1007/s10792-007-9089-y. PMID 17534581.