Vision Loss & Injurious Accidents
Healthy eyes are absolutely essential to many of our cognitive and motor functions, which in effect has a direct affect on many aspects of our lives. The eyes are complex sensory organs that optimize vision under varying lighting conditions, and the human eye is not all that different from the photography camera. The visual process allows us to have the appropriate cognitive and motor response to outside influences. Sight is more than visual acuity, or sharpness, it's also a complicated, learned and developed set of functions that have evolved into an intricate interplay of visual and cognitive skills over our lifetime. Research shows that up to 85% of man's cognitive abilities, including perception and learning are reliant upon the visual process.
One of the most common residual impairments associated with head injuries (from accidents) are visual-perception disorders, and a large percentage of brain injury victims will experience moderate to severe vision loss. The visual process is broken down into three main categories: 1) visual acuity and visual field, 2) visual motor abilities, and 3) visual perception.
A person's visual acuity is their clarity of sight, whereas the visual field is their peripheral vision or panorama vision. Visual motor abilities refer to the alignment of the eyes, with proper alignment of the eyes being called phoric. Visual perception involves a broad range of perceptions including: visual motor integration (eye-foot or eye-body coordination), visual memory (recalling what we've seen through our eyes), visual closure (being able to mentally complete a visual image based on the parts that we see), spacial relationship (knowing where you are in relationship to objects around you), and figure discrimination (the ability to discern an object with the background). Every moment of the day our cognitive and motor functions rely upon each aspect of our "visual process" in order to form thoughts, understand the world around us and to move around freely without bumping into unforeseen objects.
Injurious Accidents & Subsequent Vision Loss
Head injuries are known to cause all types of vision loss that can range from minor to severe, temporary to permanent. Perhaps some of the most impairing forms of vision loss include vision field loss, intractable double vision, and visual/balance disorders.
Visual field loss occurs when the victim has lost half of their field of vision. This can leave the person susceptible to falls, bumping into objects, and being struck by approaching objects.
Double Vision (diplopia) is a serious and upsetting condition that often affects patients with a brain injury. Double vision is often treated with lenses, prisms and vision therapy. If these tools fail to remedy the situation, the person can experience intractable diplopia.
Visual balance disorders are often caused by head injuries. These can include Visual Medline Shift Syndrome, oculomotor dysfunction in fixations, and other disruptions to the patient's central and peripheral visual processing. These are often treated with lenses, prisms and other forms of visual rehabilitation therapy.
Optic Nerve Injuries & Post Trauma Vision Syndrome
An acute optic nerve injury is referred to as traumatic optic neuropathy (TON). This is an acute optic nerve injury that is secondary to trauma. Those who suffer from traumatic optic neuropathy can experience varying degrees of vision loss and these may include: decreased visual acuity (clarity), visual field abnormalities, or loss of color vision. The most common cause of TON is auto accidents and
bicycle accidents, followed by falls and acts of violence (assaults). TON is also associated with penetrating orbital trauma such as gunshot wounds, stab wounds or penetration wounds from foreign bodies.
Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome (PTVS) occurs abruptly after an injury, and is caused by the brain not having enough time to adapt to the injury. As a result of the sudden impact, blow, or other injury, the person suffers from vision abnormalities which can affect their balance, coordination and movement. Many people who experience traumatic brain injuries will also experience numerous accompanying visual perception abnormalities as a result. What's more, since head trauma has a tendency to affect the eyes' ability to work together, head injury victims commonly experience headaches, dizziness or nausea, especially when they try to focus on moving objects.
Santa Monica Personal Injury Attorney
Vision loss is one of the most devastating consequences of being involved in an injurious accident. Head injuries are extremely common in car accidents, bus accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents,
pedestrian accidents and workplace accidents. Since our vision is so important to our daily functions, as well as our cognitive and motor abilities, vision loss must be taken seriously.
At McGee, Lerer & Associates, we deal with clients who suffer from vision loss on a daily basis. With our 35 plus years of combined experience as a husband and wife team, we have dealt with all degrees of vision loss stemming from accidents. We understand the implications of eye injuries and how they can impact every aspect of your life. Just because one doesn't experience an injury directly to the eye, it doesn't mean that their brain injury can't cause serious visual disturbances. Please, contact either Daniel McGee or Catherine Lerer to discuss your case in detail.
Personal injury is all that we do, so you can feel confident that you are in very good hands.