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Trauma and Blindness

When people think of blindness, they imagine a total loss of sight. In reality, only a small percentage of people who are legally blind see only darkness. Some people are color blind, and others are night blind. Then, there are those individuals who are legally blind as a result of limitations on their visual clarity or field of view.

Trauma and Blindness

Blindness results in the inability to perceive images. The cause of blindness might be organic, or it might be traumatic. It could be temporary or permanent. In the context of trauma, injury to one or both of a person’s eyes is a leading cause of blindness. Trauma doesn’t have to be directly to the eyes. It can be to the surrounding area like the tissue next to it, the bone structure around it or even the brain.

Common Causes of Accidental Loss of Sight

Blunt force and penetration are the primary cause of eye trauma. Blunt trauma causes the eye to suddenly contract and expand. That is one of the causes of temporary or permanent blindness. Penetrating trauma might be caused by a metal fragment while welding, a hook from a fishing lure or bone. As per the National Institute of Health, here are some common causes of accidental loss of sight:

  • Auto, truck, motorcycle and bicycle accidents. An accident that results in blunt force trauma to a victim’s head or face can cause serious damage to eye nerves and the eye itself.
  • Fires and explosions
  • Chemical exposure like acid or alkali found in oven or toilet bowl cleaners.
  • Eye medication. If it is contaminated, eye medication can cause bacteria to flourish. That bacteria can damage an otherwise healthy eye.
  • Misdiagnosis or the failure to diagnose of disease-related loss of sight.
  • Surgical errors or omissions that injure eye or optical nerve.

Diagnosing Traumatic Eye Injuries

Like with any injury, an emergency room doctor or ophthalmologist will take a medical history and carefully examine the affected eye. If injury to the cornea is suspected, a dye known as fluorescein into a specific area of the eye. If an area of the cornea is damaged, it will be come stained from the dye and turn green under special lighting. A special lighting and magnifying microscope might also be used to get a closer look at the eye. Severe injuries like punctures are likely to require immediate treatment or surgery for purposes preventing further damage to the eye.

Closed Traumatic Brain Injuries and Vision Loss

A closed traumatic brain injury (TBI) might not show any trauma to the skull at all. These types of injuries usually occur in motor vehicle collisions. Sudden deceleration as a result of an impact with another vehicle or a stationary object results in violent jerking of the head in different directions. This sudden and violent motion results in the brain slamming back and forth or sideways the inside of the skull. As a result, not only the brain, but the optic nerve can be damaged, and the victim can suffer vision loss.

Open Traumatic Brain Injuries and Vision Loss

An open traumatic brain injury usually involves penetration of bone fragments or foreign objects into the brain itself. These types of injuries are typically specific to a certain part of a victim’s brain. When that part of the brain that receives and processes sensory nerve impulses from the eyes is damaged, serious vision difficulties including partial or complete loss of vision can result.

Contact a Louisville Personal Injury Lawyer

Fortunately, we have two eyes, but the loss of even one eye will profoundly affect a victim. Surgical procedures are emerging that have drastically improved traumatic vision loss. If you or a family member suffered vision loss as a result of the negligence of somebody else, you should look into pursuing compensation for that injury. You can contact us to arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation on that issue. We promise to advise of your full range of legal options.

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