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Can a car crash blind you?

On Behalf of | Jul 23, 2019 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

As an Ohio driver, you know you face the risk of becoming involved in an auto accident every time you get behind the wheel. After all, it is a well known fact that far too many drivers nowadays choose to drive while distracted by talking or texting on their cellphones. You probably encounter these drivers every day.

While you recognize your risk at some almost unconscious level, however, you likely seldom think about the catastrophic consequences you could face as the result of an auto accident. For instance, do you realize that you could be permanently blinded?

Car crash blindness

EveryDay Health explains that while you might sustain injury to your eyes themselves during a car crash, your greatest risk of becoming totally and permanently blind from one is if you receive a traumatic brain injury. These types of serious head injuries often result in one of the following three catastrophic eye conditions:

  1. Retinal detachment
  2. Optic nerve damage
  3. Vitreous hemorrhage

Retinal detachment

Retinal detachment represents a serious eye condition in which your retinas, the thin linings at the back of your eyes, tear away from their underlying tissues. This, in turn, interrupts the messages your eyes send to your brain so that you can process and interpret the light and images coming into them. Your only hope of avoiding permanent total blindness from a retinal detachment is to undergo surgical intervention.

Optic nerve damage

Your optic nerves go from the backs of your eyes to your brain. They represent the actual message carriers that allow you to see. Most TBIs result in swelling to various parts of your brain. If this swelling puts pressure on your optic nerves, it will cut off their blood supply and therefore blind you. Sometimes your vision returns, partially or fully, when the swelling goes down, but if your optic nerves remain cut off from their blood supply too long, the damage becomes irreversible and you will be totally blind for the rest of your life.

Vitreous hemorrhage

Vitreous hemorrhage represents yet a third type of damage that a car crash TBI can cause to your eyes. Here the crash causes your eyes’ ruptured blood vessels to bleed into your vitreous, the clear, jellylike substance toward the back of your eyes through which incoming images pass before striking your retinas. Vitreous hemorrhage can cause you to see dark spots in your field of vision instead of seeing full, clear images. The more blood in your vitreous, the bigger the blind spots. Again, persistent vitreous hemorrhage can result in your total and permanent blindness.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.