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Can a Car Accident Cause Eye Problems?

Eye Pain while driving

Car accidents are a leading cause of injuries, and unfortunately, our eyes are particularly vulnerable during a collision. The force of impact, flying debris, and even deployed airbags can all cause a variety of eye injuries, some minor and some potentially sight-threatening.

How a Car Accident Can Lead to Vision Problems & Eye Injuries

The sudden force and impact of a crash can damage your eyes in several ways:

  • Debris or foreign objects. During a car accident, various debris or foreign objects from the vehicle or the surroundings can end up hitting the eye. Sharp objects like shattered glass, metal fragments, or even road debris can also lead to eye-related injuries.
  • Airbags. While airbags are life-saving devices, the forceful deployment of an airbag can injure the eye, especially if you are not wearing a seatbelt or if your face is too close to the steering wheel.
  • Blunt force trauma. A blow to the head from the steering wheel, dashboard, or other objects in the car during a crash can cause blunt force trauma to the eye.
  • Chemicals. Exposure to hazardous chemicals, such as leaking car fluids or airbag propellants, can cause serious chemical burns to the eye.

Common Eye Injuries Caused by Auto Accidents

Some of the most common eye injuries sustained in a car accident include:

  • Retinal detachment. The retina is the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye. A detached retina is a serious condition where the retina separates from the underlying tissue, which can cause sudden vision loss, flashes of light, and floaters and requires immediate medical attention. Blows to the head often lead to retinal injuries.
  • Corneal abrasion. The cornea is the clear dome at the front of your eye. A scratch on the cornea, caused by debris or contact with something sharp, is a common car accident injury. Symptoms include pain, gritty feeling, and sensitivity to light.
  • Optic nerve damage. The optic nerve transmits visual information to the brain. Trauma from a car accident can damage this nerve, leading to vision loss, blurred vision, or color problems. This type of injury can be caused by direct or indirect trauma. To be specific, these injuries can be caused by direct injuries to the eye or from other issues like bleeding from other injuries putting pressure on the nerve.
  • Vitreous hemorrhage. A bleed within the vitreous humor, the gel-like substance that fills the eyeball, can occur from a forceful impact like being hit by debris or the airbag. This can cause floaters (seeing dark spots) and vision loss.
  • Orbital blowout fractures. The bones surrounding the eye form the orbit. A forceful blow can cause these bones to fracture, which can trap eye muscles and lead to vision problems, pain, and swelling.
  • Blurred or double vision. This can be caused by various injuries, including corneal abrasions, orbital fractures, swelling from trauma, or head injuries (like concussions).
  • Black eyes. Bleeding under the skin around the eye is a common car accident injury, although it may not indicate serious damage to the eyeball itself.
  • Eyelid injuries. The eyelids can be cut or torn by flying debris during a crash. While often treatable, severe eyelid injuries can affect vision and require specialized care.
  • Sensitivity to light. Pain or discomfort in bright light can be a symptom of many eye injuries, including corneal abrasions, chemical burns, or internal bleeding.

Can a Car Accident Lead to Permanent Blindness?

Yes, certain eye injuries can inflict damage to the eyes that lead to permanent blindness. Head injuries are another concern. Blows to the head can damage the optic nerve, which transmits visual information to the brain.

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can also affect the parts of the brain responsible for processing sight. In these cases, vision loss can be immediate or develop over time. While some vision problems may improve with treatment, depending on the severity of the injury, blindness can be a permanent consequence of a car accident.

It is important to highlight how imperative medical treatment after an accident can be. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent permanent vision loss.

If you have been in a car accident and are experiencing any eye pain, vision problems, or foreign objects in your eye, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Even if you feel alright initially, get checked out by a doctor.

Injured in an Auto Accident? We Are Here to Help!

At Law Offices of Charles R. Gueli, our attorney has decades of legal experience and is dedicated to helping clients pursue compensation in personal injury claims. If you or loved one suffer an eye-related injury in an auto accident, our team can help you calculate your damages, establish liability, and navigate the case legalities. We are prepared to handle your case, whether it involves negotiating a settlement or representing you in court.

Call (516) 628-6402 to get started on your case today.

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