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Can car accidents cause vision problems?

Car accidents can have serious consequences for victims and their loved ones. One issue that many people do not foresee and are often unprepared to deal with after car accidents is vision loss. 

Eyesight problems are a common result of head injuries caused in collisions. The force of impact and how the head collides with the windshield, airbag and other structures in the vehicle often contribute to the severity of vision changes victims encounter. A person who has suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or cerebral vascular accident (CVA) may also experience difficulties with balance, spatial orientation, coordination, cognitive function, and speech. 

Therefore, it is very important, after a head injury, to be aware of these kinds of symptoms and to get a medical evaluation by a neurologist or eye-care specialist as soon as possible. 

Some visual disturbances are temporary and resolve on their own. Others are more serious and can gradually lead to complete and permanent vision loss. Common types of eye injuries that can occur in car accidents include: 

  •        Damage to the optic nerve can occur when pressure builds inside of the head and constricts the optic nerve, reducing blood flow to the area. 
  •        Detached retinae are not always apparent right after a collision. If immediate treatment is not received, permanent blindness is likely. 
  •        Vitreous hemorrhage is likely when blood vessels in the eye burst, causing bleeding into the vitreous layer of the eye. 

Keep in mind that people who are involved in minor car accidents can also suffer damage to their eyesight. It is imperative for car accident victims to have their health and eyesight checked to rule out the presence of trauma that could lead to temporary and permanent vision changes and blindness. They should also watch for hidden injuries that may not become apparent until several hours and days later. 

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