Eye injuries are not uncommon following a car accident. The eye is a sensitive organ, and if injured, can lead to temporary or permanent vision loss. Any injury to the eye as a result of a motor vehicle accident should be treated immediately by medical professionals.
During a motor vehicle accident, eye injuries can be caused by the following conditions:
- Rapid changes in velocity;
- Broken glass;
- Deployment of airbags;
- A serious traumatic brain injury;
- Not wearing a seatbelt; and/or
- Direct contact with various objects to the head or neck area.
COMMON TYPES OF EYE INJURIES CAUSED BY CAR ACCIDENTS
The clear, dome-shaped area located at the front of the eye is called the cornea. It functions to focus and control light. A corneal abrasion is a common type of eye injury and occurs when the cornea is scratched. Corneal abrasions result in symptoms involving pain, discomfort, redness and sensitivity to light. Most minor corneal abrasions can easily be treated with antibiotic eye drops and you may be required to wear a patch over your eye to keep out the light. More severe abrasions may take longer to heal and some may result in a permanent scar that can affect vision.
A black eye is defined by the bruising around the eye due to an injury to the face or head. The eye itself is usually not injured, but the skin around the eye swells up as blood and other fluids collect in this space. Symptoms include pain and swelling around the eye, discolouration around the eye like a bruise, and blurred vision.
In some cases, a black eye can indicate a more serious injury such as bleeding within the eye. In these cases, the symptoms may include double vision, vision loss, blood on the eyeball surface, inability to move the eye, headaches, fainting or loss of consciousness and/or blood and fluid coming from the ears or nose. If these symptoms occur, it is important to see a health professional as soon as possible.
Cuts to the Eyelid
During a car accident, it is not unusual to suffer an eyelid cut. These injuries should be examined by a doctor to ensure that there has not been any damage to the eyeball.
The retina is a thin layer of light-sensitive nerve cells located at the back of the eye. A detached retina occurs when the retina peels away from its underlying layer of support tissue at the back of the eye. If the retinal detachment remains untreated there is a greater risk of permanent vision loss to the affected eye.
Although retinal detachment may not cause any pain, the following symptoms may be indicative of a problem and the need for medical treatment:
- The sudden appearance of floaters (tiny specks that drift through your field of vision);
- Flashes of light in the eye;
- Blurred vision;
- Gradual reduction of peripheral (side) vision;
- A curtain-like shadow over your visual field.
As there is a risk of permanent vision loss, it is important to seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing the symptoms of retinal detachment following a car accident. In most cases, surgery is required to repair a retinal tear or detachment.
An orbital fracture occurs when there is an injury to the bone surrounding the eye socket. There are three types of orbital fractures:
- Rim fractures that frequently occur in car accidents;
- Blowout fractures wherein the rim remains intact, but the floor of the eye socket is fractured;
- Direct orbital fractures wherein a rim fracture extends to the floor of the eye socket.
A small orbital fracture is often treated with ice to reduce the swelling and allow the eye socket to heal over time. Antibiotics and decongestants may also be prescribed. More severe orbital fractures may require surgery by a specialist.
HOW DOES AN EYE INJURY AFFECT MY MOTOR VEHICLE CLAIM?
Some of the eye injuries mentioned above will likely resolve with little treatment and in a short amount of time, however the more serious eye injuries can permanently damage one’s vision.
If you or a loved one have suffered permanent vision damage or loss as a result of a motor vehicle accident, it could impact one’s earning ability by preventing a return to work.
A serious eye injury may qualify the victim to collect damages for medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity and for pain and suffering.
In order to obtain damages, it will be necessary to establish the following:
- That the negligence of another party caused the motor vehicle accident;
- That the victim sustained an eye injury as a result of the accident; and
- That the eye injury caused quantifiable damages.
CONTACTING A MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER
Visual changes following a motor vehicle accident can be severe and can make it difficult for an individual to return to work, school or even everyday activities, including childcare and housekeeping.
If you or a loved one are recovering from a serious eye injury caused by a motor vehicle accident, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. You are entitled to fair compensation to help you recover from your injuries. Please contact the experienced and award winning lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP to discuss your case today. For a free case evaluation, please contact our office online or at 403-571-0555 to make an appointment. We look forward to helping you obtain the compensation that you deserve.