Eye injuries can significantly impact your life. Humans get between 80% and 85% of their information through their eyes. Even temporary blindness can leave accident victims unable to work or care for themselves.
Eye injuries can happen in many ways. Shards of glass can shower the occupants of a vehicle during a car accident. A slip and fall accident can leave you with broken bones in your face. A falling object in a workplace accident can cause brain injuries in the part of the brain that processes images.
Here is a guide to some of the common causes and effects of eye injuries and the compensation you can seek for them.
How Does an Eye Injury Happen?
Eye injuries can happen in a few ways:
A Foreign Object in Eye
Debris or chemicals can get into the eye. Sharp objects such as metal filings, dirt, gravel, or shards of glass can scratch the cornea.
If debris migrates around the eyeball, it can lodge in the muscles that control the eye, limiting eye motion. In a worst-case scenario, a foreign object can sever blood vessels or the optical nerve, potentially causing a complete loss of vision.
Chemicals can destroy eye tissue. Caustic chemicals like acids, lye, or bleach can kill or damage the cells of the eye. A chemical burn to the eye can lead to temporary or permanent blindness.
Something can penetrate the eyeball, causing the eye to leak fluid. Inside the eye, the object can destroy blood vessels, nerves, and the retina.
Doctors can treat penetrating injuries. But in most cases, doctors cannot repair all the damage, which means that patients may still have some permanent loss of vision.
Blunt injuries happen when the eye or the bones surrounding the eye get hit with a blunt object. A blunt force can rupture the eyeball due to the pressure on the eye. It can cause the retina to detach.
Doctors treat both these injuries as emergencies since delayed treatment can lead to permanent blindness.
A blunt force can also fracture the orbital. The orbital is the bone that surrounds the eye. A ruptured orbital can lead to many complications, including temporary or permanent loss of vision.
Image information travels from the eyes along the optical nerve and finally to the brain. The brain passes an image through several parts of the brain before it eventually reaches the visual cortex. The visual cortex sits at the back of the brain in the occipital lobe.
An injury to the occipital lobe can cause vision problems. Even though your eyes remain fully functional, your brain may not be able to process the information gathered.
What Are Some Examples of Eye Injuries?
Traumatic eye injuries range in severity from eye irritation and minor bruising to severe damage from chemical burns or broken facial bones.
Some eye injuries you might suffer in an accident include:
The cornea covers the front of the eye. Foreign objects can scratch the cornea. While the cornea can heal, the scar tissue left after the injury can inhibit your vision.
Symptoms of a scratched cornea include:
- Excessive tears
- Blurry vision
- Light sensitivity
Minor scratches to the cornea can heal on their own in a few weeks. Severe corneal damage may require a cornea transplant.
Another name for a ruptured eyeball is a ruptured globe. Doctors treat a ruptured globe by cleaning out the rupture and suturing the wound closed.
In addition to the physical damage to the eye, a ruptured globe can develop an infection or tetanus. Doctors will usually treat the patient with antibiotics and administer a tetanus vaccine.
The retina is a specialized nerve located at the back of the eye. It detects light and sends signals along the optic nerve to form images.
A detached retina can happen when a penetrating object pushes the retina off of the back of the eye. It can also happen when an injury tears the retina and allows the fluid inside the eye to push the retina off of the back of the eye.
Once the retina detaches, it can die from a lack of blood. This will leave the patient permanently blind.
Doctors can treat a detached retina with emergency surgery. In one type of surgery, doctors use lasers to seal off tears in the retina and weld the retina back onto the eyeball.
If the retina has torn loose from the eyeball, doctors might put a bubble in the eyeball to hold the retina onto the back of the eye so it can heal.
The orbital includes several bones that surround the eyeball. A fractured orbital might only produce bruising, which is often referred to as a black eye. But in serious cases, a fractured orbital could cost you your vision.
Bone fragments from a fractured orbital can get intertwined with the muscles and impede eye motion. They can even sever the optic nerve or the blood vessels that supply the eye.
If you fracture the bones in the orbital floor that support the eye, your eyeball could get displaced, resulting in one eyeball that is lower than the other.
What Compensation Can I Recover for an Eye Injury?
You can seek compensation after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. The compensation can include your medical expenses, lost income, and non-economic damages.
After an eye injury, you could face substantial medical expenses for treatment, including surgery, therapy, and corrective lenses. You might lose income while you recover from your injuries. Your future earning capacity might even be reduced as a result of permanent loss of vision. You can claim all these economic losses among your damages.
You can also seek non-economic damages. These damages compensate you for the ways in which your eye injury has diminished your quality of life.
Common examples of non-economic losses include:
- Physical pain
- Mental suffering
- Loss of activities
Eye injuries can cause severe pain. You might experience depression, anxiety, and mental anguish after an eye injury.
Contact a Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyer for Help
Your eye injury could affect every part of your life, at least until you find ways to cope with it. You deserve compensation if someone else caused your eye injury.To discuss the damages you can seek for your eye injury, contact William G. Kolodner, P.A. for a free consultation. Our Baltimore personal injury lawyers will discuss the facts of your case and help you find effective legal solutions.