It’s easy to take one’s eyes for granted until an eye injury affects one’s ability to see. We rely on our eyes for everything, from driving and working, to communicating with others, seeing those we love and enjoying the beauty of nature. An eye injury has devastating life-long effects and should always be evaluated immediately by an expert. Getting the right treatment quickly enough can help protect remaining eyesight. Time is of the essence to prevent permanent and complete loss of vision.
Dr. Greg Vigna is both a serious accident lawyer and a rehabilitation physician with over 20 years of experience caring for patients who have suffered a variety of traumatic eye injuries. He works directly with eye specialists who have advanced training and certification to treat every aspect of eye trauma. As your eye injury lawyer, Dr. Vigna uses all resources at his disposal to get you the best care and compensation possible.
The eyes are commonly injured in high speed accidents, at work, or from an assault. Long term complications resulting in vision loss years after the initial injury are possible.
Eye Injuries from High Speed Accidents
If the head impacts another object with great force, such as the pavement, a dashboard, or a side window, the eye may be crushed, ruptured, torn or scraped. It can also be cut by flying debris during the accident. Injury happens to the bones around the eye, the eyeball itself, and the nerves and muscles that help control the eye.
The eye rests in a bony orbit. A forceful blow can fracture the bones surrounding the eye. This may cause the eye to protrude forward out of the socket, or sink backwards into the skull and sinuses. Broken bones can put pressure on or cut the optic nerve, which exits the back of the eye. Damage to eye’s optic nerve will likely cause permanent blindness.
An ophthalmic plastic surgeon and neuro-ophthalmology specialist are often necessary in these types of injuries; they are able to reconstruct the eye socket, take pressure off the nerve and reattach muscles and tissues that help keep the eye in place. Several surgeries may be required, and it’s important to get help as soon as possible, since some damage is irreversible if too much time passes.
Damage to the Globe of the Eye
The eye is filled with fluid which is called the vitreous. If the eyeball is hit directly, the fluid inside the eye shifts to the sides. Picture what happens to the fluid inside a water balloon when you punch the top of it. The balloon collapses inward and the fluid is pushed to the sides. This also happens to the eye.
When the fluid shifts inside the eyeball, it pulls the eye into an abnormal shape and tears the muscles, nerves and delicate tissues of the eye which enable your eye to focus properly. With enough pressure it’s possible for the eyeball to rupture.
Workplace Eye Injuries
Work facilities, from manufacturing to cleaning jobs, may require the use of various chemicals. A chemical splash to the eye can cause serious and irreversible damage. Chemicals often melt the clear front covering of the eye, called the cornea, and then damage the delicate muscles and connective tissues underneath the cornea.
Any time there is an eye injury it’s essential to continuously wash the eye with clean fluid, until medical help is received. Some chemicals continue to break down the tissues even after rinsing, and a special solution is needed to stop the burning process. Always go to the emergency department when there is a chemical splash to the eye.
Employers are required to follow occupational and safety guidelines (OSHA) for protective eyewear, and have eye wash stations and the correct eye wash available in case there are workplace injuries.
Anything that impacts and/or penetrates the eye can cause serious damage. Foreign objects that become embedded in the eye can damage the eye’s ability to focus light, cloud the clear covering (cornea) of the eye, and cause infection. It’s extremely important to never attempt to remove an object on one’s own. This is because secondary damage from pulling the object out of the eye may be worse. Always seek help from a medical professional if anything is sticking out of or stuck in the eye.
Eye Injury during Assault
Most assault related eye injuries result in blunt force damage to the eye. Bone fractures and bruising, tears or rupture of the eyeball are possible. These injuries need to be evaluated by a specialist in eye trauma so all structures responsible for sight are assessed and treated appropriately.
A secondary complication from damage to the eye’s internal structures is glaucoma. Traumatic glaucoma develops if the eye can no longer maintain proper internal pressure. The front of the eye helps regulate eye pressure by draining excess fluid, first through a small opening called the angle, and next through a structure called the trabecular meshwork. The angle and the trabecular meshwork may be damaged during a traumatic event, or may become scarred or clogged over time.
Closed angle glaucoma has rapid onset symptoms including severe eye pain, changes in vision, nausea and vomiting, and sudden blindness. Tissue fragments may block the angle which causes a rapid rise in eye pressure.
Open angle glaucoma develops slowly. The trabecular meshwork, which lies right beyond the angle of the eye, becomes blocked by cellular debris. This makes pressure in the eye increase slowly, usually without any signs or symptoms. The first sign of damage is usually permanent loss of one’s peripheral vision.
Both closed and open angle glaucoma will lead to optic nerve damage and irreversible blindness if not treated. Evaluation and treatment is needed for the rest of one’s life since small changes in eye structure can lead to serious complications.
Getting the Best Representations and Referrals
Dr. Greg Vigna, eye injury lawyer, works directly with top eye specialists in the United States. Dr. Vigna understands how an eye injury affects a trauma victim and their family, having cared for serious eye injury and its long term complications in one of his own children. As the only board certified rehabilitation doctor/attorney/and certified Life Care planner in the country, Dr. Vigna goes above and beyond in assessing your long term needs and advocating for the best legal settlement or jury ruling possible. Contact him today.