“Eyes are the window to the soul” is a common expression. More practically, eyes provide our windows to the world around us. The eye is a delicate and complex organ that is responsible for gathering visual information and sending it to the brain for processing. Eyes allow us to connect with our surroundings, relate to other people, stay safe, and help maintain the sharpness of our connections with the world.
Thus, traumatic eye injuries can have a significant impact on an individual’s life, both physically and emotionally. Such eye injuries can range from minor scratches to severe damage that can result in permanent vision loss or even blindness. Eye injuries can cause complex and life-altering medical complications, impacting education and careers, impede social relationships, cause permanent impairment, and hold profound marriage and family ramifications.
Some common causes of eye injuries include:
Car and Truck Accidents – Eye injuries, usually initially addressed in an emergency department, can occur in car or truck accidents in several ways.
- Penetrating trauma by protruding objects or debris.
During a car or truck accident, the eye may come in contact with a protruding object in the vehicle or debris such as broken glass, metal fragments, or other sharp objects may fly around and penetrate a person’s eyes. When a sharp object penetrates the eye, it can cause physical damage to the structures of the eye, such as the cornea, iris, lens, and retina, as well as the surrounding tissue.
The severity of the damage depends on several factors, including the size, shape, and velocity of the object, as well as the location of the injury. A small object, such as a metal fragment or a small piece of glass, can cause a corneal abrasion, which is a scratch on the surface of the cornea. While this type of injury can be painful and may cause temporary vision problems, it usually heals within a few days to a week with proper treatment.
However, if the object is larger or travels at a higher velocity, it can penetrate deeper into the eye and cause more serious damage, such as a ruptured eyeball or a detached retina. These injuries can cause permanent vision loss and may require surgical intervention to repair.
In addition to the physical damage, a penetrating eye injury can also increase the risk of infection, as bacteria and other microorganisms can enter the eye through the wound. This can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening complications, such as endophthalmitis, which is an infection of the interior of the eye.
- Blunt impact between an eye and any object in a car or truck crash can cause:
Retinal detachment, a serious condition in which the retina separates from underlying tissue, can cause permanent vision loss
Orbital fracture, a break in bones surrounding the eye.
Traumatic iritis, and inflammation of the iris.
Hyphema, in which blood collects in the front chamber of the eye.
Corneal abrasions, resulting in eye pain, redness, sensitivity to light, and blurred vision.
Airbag deployment: Airbags are designed to protect people in accidents, but they can also cause injuries, especially if they hit a person’s face or eyes. Eye injuries from airbags can range from minor irritation to serious damage such as retinal detachment.
- Chemical exposure: In some accidents, chemicals such as gasoline or battery acid may leak or spill, and if they come into contact with a person’s eyes, they can cause serious injuries such as chemical burns or blindness.-
- Work Accidents – Workplace accidents, such as those that occur in chemical exposures, construction or manufacturing settings, can also result in eye injuries.
- Sports and Recreational Activities – Sports and recreational activities such as baseball, basketball, and swimming can all lead to eye injuries.
Eye injuries can lead to a range of medical complications, including:
- Infection – Eye injuries can make the eye more susceptible to infection.
- Vision Loss – Eye injuries can cause temporary or permanent vision loss, depending on the severity of the injury.
- Scarring – Scarring can occur as a result of an eye injury, which can lead to permanent vision loss.
Social and Psychological Aspects
Eye injuries can also have social and psychological impacts on an individual’s life. Some of these impacts include:
- Social Isolation – Eye injuries can make individuals self-conscious about their appearance, leading to social isolation.
- Anxiety and Depression – Eye injuries can lead to anxiety and depression, especially if the injury results in permanent vision loss.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Individuals who have experienced a severe eye injury may develop PTSD, which can lead to flashbacks, nightmares, and other symptoms.
In some cases, eye injuries can result in permanent impairment, such as partial or complete vision loss. This can have significant impacts on an individual’s life, including their ability to work and perform daily activities. In these cases, it may be necessary to seek compensation for the permanent impairment through a personal injury lawsuit.
Educational and Career Impacts
Eye injuries can also have significant impacts on an individual’s education and career. A serious eye injury to a child can affect the entire trajectory of education and life. Depending on the severity of the injury, an individual may need to take time off from school or work to recover or may be unable to return to their previous goals and job due to vision loss or other impairments. In these cases, it may be necessary to seek compensation for lost wages and future earning potential.
Marriage and Family Ramifications
Eye injuries can also have impacts on an individual’s personal relationships, including their marriage and family. In some cases, an individual may require additional support from their spouse or family members during the recovery process. Additionally, the emotional and psychological impacts of an eye injury can also impact these relationships.
If you or a loved one have suffered a serious eye injury, submit our inquiry form or call us at 404-253-7862.
Johnson & Ward has been a leading personal injury and wrongful death specialty law firm in Atlanta since 1949. The founders of the firm were also among the founders of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association. Current partners include former presidents of the State Bar of Georgia and the Atlanta Bar Association.
Ken Shigley, senior counsel at Johnson & Ward, is a former president of the State Bar of Georgia (2011-12). He was the first Georgia lawyer to earn three board certifications from the National Board of Trial Advocacy (Civil Trial Advocacy, Civil Pretrial Advocacy, and Truck Accident Law). In 2019, he received the Traditions of Excellence Award for lifetime achievement. Mr. Shigley was the lead author of eleven editions of Georgia Law of Torts: Trial Preparation and Practice (Thomson Reuters, 2010-21). He graduated from Furman University and Emory University Law School, and completed certification courses in negotiation and mediation at Harvard Law School.