In a serious car accident, cuts, bruises, and broken bones are some of the injuries that most people expect to hear about. Head trauma is also a major concern, including traumatic brain injuries. However, there is another type of common and devastating crash injury that few people think about until after they have been hurt: eye trauma. Injuries to the face and eyes can be serious, causing life-long issues, including visual impairment and disfigurement.
Here’s what you should know about car accidents and eye injuries, including how eye injuries happen, the effects an eye injury can have on your life, and how to get legal help after a crash.
Car Accident Eye Injuries
The eyes are fragile organs, and the sheer force and amount of debris involved in a car accident mean that they are very vulnerable to injury in a crash. There are several ways that eye injuries commonly occur, including:
- Airbag and other impact injuries. Airbags save lives, there’s no question about that. But airbags are also able to cause injuries themselves due to the speed and force with which they deploy. A hit from an airbag or other surface can cause fractures of the bones around the eye, detachment of the retina, and trauma-induced cataract formation.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Even without a direct hit to an eye, injury to the brain can result in visual problems. Brain injuries can lead to blurred sight, visual disturbances, and partial or even total loss of sight on a temporary or permanent basis.
- Debris and particulate injuries. Car crashes result in a lot of broken glass, shattered plastic, and metal fragments that fly through the air. Even a single small particle can result in severe eye irritation and damage, including dust launched from an airbag deployment. Corneal scratching can result from the smallest pieces, while larger pieces can cause lacerations (cuts) and punctures that permanently damage the ability to see.
- Crushing injuries. The eyeball is very pressure-sensitive. In a crushing-type injury, the eye itself may rupture. In many cases, this type of injury leads to permanent loss of vision. Crush injuries may result in damage to the iris, retinal damage, or cause a subconjunctival hemorrhage, which is bleeding under the surface that causes the white of the eye to turn red.
Not all eye injuries are serious or permanent, but some may require advanced medical care and regular monitoring to ensure that as much vision is retained as possible.
The Effects of an Eye Injury
While some types of eye injuries are recoverable and the body may heal itself with time, many eye injuries can result in permanently decreased vision. In some cases, a complete loss of sight may occur, even if the eye can be medically “saved.” Many times, though, if vision is fully lost, the eye itself is unable to be repaired at all and will need to be surgically removed.
The loss of an eye can cause cosmetic changes to the face that can make victims uncomfortable. Self-esteem and confidence can suffer, even with a prosthetic replacement. Some survivors have difficulty readjusting to work, or increasingly find themselves withdrawing from social situations and avoiding friends and co-workers.
Loss of an eye can also mean changes to depth perception. Binocular stereopsis is the term for the way that two eyes work together to help determine distance and depth. Losing one eye means loss of this ability, and it can be devastating to somebody who relies on strong visual skills as a part of their work or hobbies, reducing income and quality of life.
Other visual tasks that the fully-sighted take for granted, such as looking over a shoulder to park a car in parallel, can become new challenges due to a narrower field of vision. Reading or focusing on far objects may become difficult and visual fatigue may set in faster, causing pain and exhaustion, as well.
Get Legal Help Today
If you’ve suffered a serious eye injury or you have lost your eye in a car accident, you may be able to receive compensation from the person who caused the crash. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you build your case, negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, and represent you in court.
Wayne Wright LLP has been representing the rights of those who have been injured in serious auto accidents for decades, and we’re here to help you get the justice that you deserve in a court of law. To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced legal professional, call us by phone, use our contact form to send us an email, or click the live chat box on this page right now.