According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, eye injury is the second leading cause of visual impairment behind cataracts. Over 11% of all annual eye injuries occur on American roads. About 5% of such cases are caused by airbag injury (although it should be noted that eye injuries are usually more severe in vehicles in which an airbag did not deploy). Over 42% of those who suffered trauma to the eye were not wearing a seat belt.
One of the common forms of eye trauma that occurs in a motor vehicle accident, aside from corneal abrasions, is a tear duct injury. The tear duct, responsible for the drainage of tears (among other functions), is an essential part of the eye. A torn tear duct can be very painful and may require surgery, and can be accompanied by other facial injuries that may be life-threatening.
Although most patients with an injured eye will make a full recovery, it is important to realize the importance of safety devices while traveling in a vehicle. If you or a loved one has suffered trauma to the tear duct due to a motor vehicle crash that was someone elses fault, you may be eligible for compensation.
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Causes of Tear Duct Injury
Although the use of a seatbelt and airbag can usually lessen the severity of a torn tear duct, this type of injury can still occur when involved in an auto accident. The potential for flying debris to affect the eyes can often cause facial injuries.
Some auto-related causes of tear duct trauma include:
- Airbag deployment
- Broken glass
- Dashboard fragments
- Steering wheel impact
- Windshield debris
- Wreckage from other vehicles
In the event of an accident, hazardous materials may be carried by other vehicles involved in the accident, posing further threat to the vision and well-being of the injured individual.
If you or a loved one was hurt and is experiencing vision problems due to another drivers negligence, you are encouraged to contact a knowledgeable attorney after seeking treatment.
Symptoms of Eye Injury
While the pain associated with an eye injury is usually a tell-tale sign, some other symptoms may be present when a tear duct has suffered trauma.
- Excess tear production
- Recurring infection
- Painful swelling in inner corner of eye
- Excess discharge
- Blurred vision
- Intensified symptoms in presence of sunlight, wind or cold temperatures
These symptoms may subside or intensify, depending on the severity of the injury and whether an infection is present. Infection can lead to loss of vision. If you are suffering any of these symptoms, an ophthalmologist can help diagnose and treat the issue you are experiencing and prevent further damage.
Tear Duct Injury Treatment
Eye injury should be treated as an emergency. The potential complications and effects on vision should be taken seriously.
If you suffered an injury to the eye, follow these tips and seek immediate treatment:
- DO NOT try to remove any foreign objects
- DO NOT rub, apply pressure or even touch the eye
- Lightly shield the eye with a sterile pad
- DO NOT apply medication or ointment
- Avoid painkillers and anti-inflammation medications
- Seek treatment from an ophthalmologist
Once you are able to see a doctor, the physician or ophthalmologist will diagnose your eye injury and decide on a course of treatment that can range between conservative methods to intricate eye surgery.
Conservative techniques include massage and medications, and some tear duct injuries may heal completely without further intervention. In more severe cases, mildly invasive techniques such as dilation & irrigation or the use of a balloon catheter may be required. Surgery may be necessary for badly injured tear ducts; the procedure can clear blocked tear ducts and repair drainage issues, but may require months of healing time.
Contact Our Utah Auto Accident Attorneys
Eye trauma can affect your vision and lead to permanent damage. If you or someone you care about has suffered facial injuries such as trauma to the tear duct in a Utah auto accident, you may be eligible to pursue monetary damages from the responsible party.
The auto accident attorneys at Phillips Law understand the hardships that can be associated with debilitating injuries, including the lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering victims and their families may experience. We are devoted to seeking the maximum compensation for our clients.
Through our office in Salt Lake City, we proudly serve clients throughout Utah and the surrounding area, including:
- Canyon Rim
- American Fork
- and many cities throughout the west
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