Eye injuries can happen in almost any accident. Eye trauma can lead to a temporary or permanent loss of sight. Facial injuries or brain trauma can also impair your eyesight.
An eye injury can change your life forever. You will likely face many adaptations to deal with visual loss or impairment. You could also suffer mental and emotional trauma after losing your eyesight.
Facing an eye injury? Here is a guide to eye injuries and the compensation you can seek for them.
How an Eye Injury Happens
Your eyes are part of your nervous system. Like other sense organs, your eyes collect information from your environment and pass that information along to your brain.
Light passes through the cornea, a protective film that covers your eye. The pupil controls the amount of light that reaches the lens. The lens focuses the light so that it strikes the retina.
The retina covers the back of your eyeball or globe. The retina has light-sensitive cells that detect the light that reaches them. The retina converts this light information into an electrical nerve signal.
Nerve signals from the retina pass along the optic nerve to the brain. The brain decodes the nerve signals and interprets them to sense an image.
Eye injuries happen when any part of this system gets disrupted or damaged due to trauma or disease.
Importantly, you do not need to experience eye trauma to suffer an eye injury. For example, a facial injury can damage the bones and muscles surrounding the eye. The injury could obscure your eye or limit your eye movement.
Eye Injury Statistics
Eye inuries can occur in any environment. Roughly 2.5 million eye injures occur every year nationwide. About 10% of those occur in sports or recreation events.
About 2,000 people per day require medical treatment due to suffering an eye injury on the job.
Over a million eye injuries happpen in the home in the U.S. every year.
Examples of Eye Injuries
Some of the most common eye injuries include:
The cornea covers the front of your eye. It protects the lens. It also prevents foreign objects from entering the globe through the pupil.
An impact on your eye can scratch your cornea. Corneal abrasions can also result from debris in your eye.
A scratched cornea can produce a range of symptoms, including:
- Watery eyes
- Blurred vision
- Red eyes
Corneal abrasions generally heal in a few days. If you suffer a deep scratch, a doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops.
Foreign Matter in the Eye
One common accidental eye injury happens when foreign objects or chemicals get propelled into the eye. The foreign matter may penetrate the globe or get trapped in the eye socket. These injuries often require emergency treatment to remove the foreign matter and prevent infection.
When a foreign object gets trapped in the eye socket, it can damage the muscles that control eye movement. It can also sever the nerves and blood vessels that lead into the eye.
A foreign object embedded in the globe can cause the fluid inside the eye to leak. It can also cause bleeding inside the eye or even push the retina off the back of the eye.
Your eyeball or globe can rupture from a hard impact that causes the fluid inside the globe to burst out of the globe. A rupture can also result from a laceration that allows the fluid to leak.
A ruptured globe will likely require emergency surgery. Doctors repair a ruptured globe by removing any foreign objects and closing the wounds in the eye. Doctors may also remove the rest of the fluid in the eye. The traction caused by a partially-filled fluid sac can pull the retina from the back of the eye.
The prognosis for a ruptured globe usually includes some vision loss. In some cases, a ruptured globe will result in total loss of vision in the eye.
The eye rests in the eye socket. The orbital bones surround and protect the eye. A blow to the head can fracture these bones. A fractured orbital will sometimes require reconstructive surgery to rebuild the eye socket.
An orbital fracture can send bone fragments into your globe. These bone fragments can penetrate or rupture the globe.
But a fractured orbital can damage your eyesight even if your globe remains uninjured. Bone fragments from the fracture can sever muscles and nerves running to the eye. This can limit your eye movement. They may sever the optic nerve, cutting off the input between your eye and your brain.
The soft tissue around your eye could swell, pushing your eye out of alignment. This can lead to double vision. If the bones heal incorrectly, your eyes may remain misaligned.
The retina is a specialized nerve that covers the back of your eye. Trauma can cause the retina to detach from the inside surface of the globe. When it detaches, the retina moves out of position to capture light from the lens. As a result, you could experience an immediate loss of vision.
A detached retina cannot receive blood from the eye. If the retina remains detached, it can die, leading to permanent loss of sight.
A retinal detachment requires emergency treatment. Doctors have several techniques for reattaching the retina, ranging from lasers to plastic bands.
Risk Factors for an Eye Injury
Some accidents pose an increased risk for an eye injury, including:
Car accidents involve powerful forces. Hitting the side window, steering wheel, or dashboard can fracture your orbital. Flying glass and road debris can enter the eye. Caustic engine fluids can burn the eyes.
Workplace accidents can cause eye injuries in many ways. Tools and machines can propel objects into the eye. Falling objects can fracture facial bones. Toxic chemicals can get sprayed into the eyes.
Slip and fall accidents or falls from an elevation can lead to eye injuries. Your fall could result in fractured orbital bones. It could also result in a traumatic brain injury that damages your optic nerve or visual cortex.
Compensation for an Eye Injury
An eye injury can justify substantial injury compensation. Your compensation should account for your past and future economic losses. This can include your medical expenses and lost income.
If your eye injury causes you to miss work or even change jobs, you can seek reimbursement for your income losses.
Injury compensation also covers non-economic losses. You can seek compensation for the pain, anguish, depression, fear, and inconvenience associated with vision loss. You can also seek compensation for the activities you can no longer engage in, such as driving and reading.
To discuss the compensation you can seek for your eye injury, contact Allen Law Firm, P.A. to schedule a free consultation.