Blindness and Eye Injury
When an injury leaves you legally blind or with impaired vision, the consequences are life-changing. Not only will you be left with medical bills for expensive treatments intended to save your vision or minimize eye damage, but you may also be unable to hold the job you held before the injury and be unable to do some of the activities that you used to enjoy. It may even become necessary for you to hire caregivers or to seek other assistance or adaptive devices as a result of your blindness or impaired vision.
Because eye injuries and blindness have such a major impact on your life, they are generally classified as personal injuries. Many attorneys who handle injury cases are not comfortable handling catastrophic injury cases and do not have the experience necessary to deal with such high-stakes, high-dollar personal injury claims. This means that if you have suffered an eye injury, you need to find not only a Houston personal injury lawyer with experience representing injured victims, but also a lawyer who has experience with catastrophic injury cases and who can get you the comprehensive compensation that you need and deserve.
Information on Blindness and Vision Loss Injuries
In the United States, a person with normal vision has a central vision of 20/20 and can see up to 90 degrees using his or her peripheral vision. When a person’s vision degrades to 20/200 or an individual can see less than 20 degrees in peripheral vision, he or she can be classified as legally blind. There are approximately 1.1 million people in the United States who meet this definition and who are classified as legally blind.
While the majority of cases of legal blindness are caused by eye disease, an estimated 4 percent of individuals who are blind suffered their vision impairment as a result of trauma or injury to the eye. The American Academy of Ophthalmology compiled statistics on eye injuries and vision impairment from 2004 to 2008 and determined that an estimated 2.5 million eye injuries occur each year, causing 50,000 people annually to lose all or part of their vision.
Causes of Eye Injuries and Blindness
The American Academy of Ophthalmology has provided detailed information on common causes of eye injuries, as well as facts and figures on what age groups are the most at risk of suffering an injury to the eye that causes vision impairment. According to figures collected from 2004 to 2008:
- 44.1 percent of reported eye injuries happen in the home.
- 14.7 percent of eye injuries happen during sports and recreational activities.
- 15.6 percent of eye injuries occur in a work environment.
- 11.4 percent of eye injuries happen as a result of motor vehicle accidents.
- 14.2 percent of eye injuries occur on farms, at schools or in other unspecified locations.
These eye injuries can be caused by projectiles or flying objects; blunt objects such as construction tools; fingers, fists or body parts; or sharp objects such as wood splinters or glass shards. In a vehicle accident, not only can flying debris damage the eyes, but the airbag itself can also cause eye injuries. Chemical burns or exposure to toxins can also result in damage to the eye, especially in work or industrial environments. Fireworks are the cause of 1,500 eye injuries each year.
Types of Eye Injuries
Serious eye injuries may be treated by retinal surgery or may be untreatable. Serious eye injuries can include:
- Anterior chamber hyphema – This condition occurs when a blow to the eye causes blood to enter the front chamber of the eye. The inside of the eye may fill completely with blood and emergency treatment be necessary. In some cases, the cornea may become stained by the blood or the blood may fail to drain from the eye, necessitating surgery.
- Torn or detached retinas – The retina is thin tissue at the back of the eye. If the retina tears or detaches, prompt treatment is necessary to avoid permanent vision loss.
- Chemical burns – Chemical burns can occur when solid or liquid chemicals or chemical fumes enter the eye. Typically, the damage done by a chemical burn will not become fully apparent for 24 hours. The damage may be permanent.
- Damage to the iris or pupils – When the eye is injured, the muscles that control the size and shape of the pupil can be damaged or the colored part of the eye (the iris) can lose its shape.
Costs of Eye Injuries
The costs of treating an eye injury can be significant. In fact, the AMD Alliance International reports that the estimated global cost of vision loss is almost $3 trillion worldwide, while OSHA reports that eye injuries cause an estimated $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses and workers’ compensation.
Costs to individuals who suffer an eye injury or who become blind may include eye surgery, vision aids, a prosthetic eye, adaptive devices and lost workdays or reduced earning power. An individual who experiences a catastrophic eye injury may need lifetime medical care, adaptive aids and devices and may permanently reduce his or her earning potential. The injured victim should be compensated for past and future losses, as well as for non-economic losses, including pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Contact Vision Loss Accident Lawyer Kevin Krist Today
If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic accident that resulted in vision loss, eye injuries or blindness in southeast Texas, including Houston, Harris County, Pasadena, Katy, Baytown, Sugar Land, Conroe, and League City, contact Kevin Krist today for a free consultation about your case.
Simply call the Law Office of Kevin Krist at 281-677-3962 or use the firm’s online form. Let Kevin Krist tell you how he can put his personal, proven experience to work for you and your family. Kevin Krist represents personal injury victims on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay no fees unless he recovers compensation on your claim.