According to the National Institutes of Health, motor vehicle collisions are a leading cause of eye injuries in the United States. At least 9,200 eye injuries occur every year from automobile accidents. Eye injuries can result in temporarily impaired vision or complete loss of vision. Some of the factors that are likely to cause eye injuries during a car crash include:
- Rapid changes in velocity
- Broken glass
- Deployment of airbags
- Not wearing a seatbelt
- Direct contact with various objects
The following are some of the most common eye injuries caused by auto accidents.
The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped area located at the front of the eye. While it partially protects the eye, its main purpose is to focus and control light. Corneal abrasions are likely the most common type of eye injury. When a person suffers a corneal abrasion, the cornea is scratched. Symptoms may include pain, discomfort, redness and sensitivity to light. Luckily, most corneal abrasions can be easily treated.
A black eye occurs when trauma from a foreign object causes blood vessels under the skin to break. Blood and other fluids might cause the area around the eye to swell and bruise. A black eye shouldn’t be ignored, as bleeding between the cornea and iris could lead to blindness. Although a black eye is probably easily treated with ice, it may be a good idea to consult with an eye doctor for safe measure.
Cuts to the eyelid
Eyelid cuts can also be caused by trauma during a car accident. These cuts should be looked at carefully by an eye doctor, as there might be damage to the eyeball as well. If stitches are needed, care must be taken to ensure that the stitches themselves do not damage the cornea and further complicate the healing process.
The retina is made up of tissue that lines the inside of the eye and sends messages to the brain through the optic nerve. The injury itself might be painless, but an accident victim with a torn retina may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Particles throughout their field of vision
- Flashes of light
- Blurred vision
- Impaired side vision
A torn retina might result from trauma or even rapid acceleration and deceleration. Retinal detachment is a serious condition, and the longer it goes untreated, the greater the risk of permanent vision loss.
This condition occurs when blood accumulates at the anterior chamber of the eye between the cornea and the iris. Pain and blurred vision are the most common symptoms, but a large hyphema might make the affected eye look as if it’s filled with blood. If this occurs, one should seek medical treatment immediately as this condition may be serious. The condition will likely resolve over time with proper care and treatment.
An orbital fracture involves an injury to the bone surrounding the eye socket. The three different types of orbital fractures include:
- Rim fractures that are commonly seen in car accidents
- Blowout fractures when the rim remains intact but the floor of the eye socket is fractured
- Direct orbital fractures, which are rim fractures extending to the floor of the socket
Smaller orbital fractures probably won’t require surgery and are typically treated conservatively. More serious orbital fractures will likely require surgery, particularly if movement of the eye is impeded by the fracture.
For the sake of your vision, any eye injury should be examined and treated by an eye doctor specialist. If the injury resulted from an auto accident that was the fault of another driver, contact us for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer residents trust, as you may be entitled to compensation for your eye injury.