When an auto collision causes an eye injury, it can be a life-changing event for the injury victim. Sight is a fundamental part of everyday life, and nearly every activity depends on it in some way. The human eye is a remarkable and delicate part of the body.
Although no two auto collisions are exactly the same, there are several common eye injuries that can happen after a collision. Many of these eye injuries result in permanent or long-term trauma that forces the victim to stop working, abandon hobbies, and adjust to a “new normal” after the collision.
There are several common eye injuries that can occur in a motor vehicle collision:
1. Airbag Injuries
If you think airbags are like soft, fluffy pillows that cushion your face in the event of a crash, think again. Airbags are a lifesaving auto technology that have saved numerous lives. Unfortunately, they also deploy with explosive force, which can lead to injuries. In fact, they do not contain “air” at all. Instead, they are made up mostly of nitrogen gas and other chemicals that vary depending on the manufacturers.
They are also designed to complement seat belts, which are the best and safest restraints in vehicles. Some individuals have suffered eye trauma after hitting their faces and heads against a deployed airbag. Eye injuries caused by airbags include traumatic cataracts and retinal detachment.
2. Eye Injuries Caused by TBI
Concussions have received a lot of press lately – due in large part to the media’s scrutiny of the NFL and the degenerative brain diseases brought on by repetitive blows to the head in contact sports like football.
One area that often gets overlooked is how traumatic brain injuries affect vision. It makes sense when you think about it – a forceful blow to the skull can also have an impact on the eyes, whether from blunt trauma or a condition caused by damage to the brain itself. Even mild trauma can cause vision problems. Some victims living with a traumatic brain injury also experience some sort of vision problem, which can include blurred vision, vertigo, and difficulty seeing.
More severe TBI-related vision problems include visual acuity, binocular dysfunction, and spatial perceptual deficits.
3. Lacerations and Particles in the Eye
If you have ever gotten dust or an eyelash stuck in your eye, then you know that even a relatively tiny speck of dirt can result in pain, discomfort, and tears running down your face as your body fights to dislodge the foreign particle. A miniscule piece of dirt can also temporarily blind you.
In a collision, debris, glass, dirt and all manner of objects fly through the vehicle. If a tiny piece of dirt can result in agony and vision loss, imagine what can happen in a serious car crash.
In any kind of impact, the eyes are incredibly vulnerable. Corneal abrasions and corneal lacerations are serious injuries that can lead to additional trauma if left untreated. A corneal laceration can also lead to a more serious injury known as a ruptured globe.
4. Globe Rupture
Given enough pressure and trauma, the eye can actually rupture. Although doctors can sometimes perform ocular surgery to repair these types of gruesome injuries, many injury victims lose their eye and must be fitted with a prosthetic. Blunt trauma can also cause the eye to bleed or damage the iris – the colored part of the eye – can result in loss of vision.
5. Orbital Fracture
The orbital bone is the actual socket surrounding the eye. These bones are incredibly strong, so it requires a tremendous amount of force to fracture them. As you can probably imagine, it is an extremely painful injury and one that can force shards of bone into the eye and even the brain.
6. Injuries to the Eyelid
Most people don’t spend much time – if any at all – thinking about their eyelids. Without these amazing structures, however, life would be extremely uncomfortable and difficult.
The eyelid protects the eye and keeps it moist. Cuts and trauma to the eyelid usually requires repair and treatment by an ophthalmologist or a plastic surgeon.
The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace a physician’s advice. Please always consult your physician for your medical needs.