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Eye injuries: What to know about recovery

Eye injuries can be some of the scariest to endure. Not only are you worried about the pain and difficulties you may face, but you can no longer use one of your most significant senses. The frustration of losing your sight, even temporarily, is a lot to handle.

The good news is that many injuries that involve the eyes are treatable. Even those that are not do not necessarily mean the patient will lose the sense of sight completely. Here are a few things to know about eye injuries in crashes.

What causes eye injuries in car crashes?

There are several reasons people suffer from eye injuries after a collision. First, there's the force of the impact. Some crashes are so forceful it's possible to literally pop the eye out of the socket.

Another reason would be if you wear glasses or contacts and hit your face on the airbag. It's possible to hurt your eyes during the impact, although, again, it's more likely to be due to the force than a physical impact to the eyeball.

Another common eye injury is an orbital rim fracture. The orbital rim is the bone that surrounds the eye. An injury to the this area could result in double vision, trouble looking in different directions, swelling, black eyes and abnormal positions of the eye.

Finally, other eye injuries occur because of punctures and direct hits to the eye. Flying objects, glass or other projectiles can lead to serious injuries.

What happens after an eye injury?

Depending on the kind of injury suffered, a patient may need to take painkillers, have surgery, use anti-inflammatory medications or receive other treatments. Sometimes, serious injuries require the eye to be removed. In other circumstances, given time, the wounds heal and recover.

Your medical provider will look at the eye internally as well as externally. Of course, the medical team wants to save your vision, but if that isn't possible, the eye is removed to prevent further injury and infection.

How long does an eye injury last?

If you're suffering from an eye injury due to a broken orbital rim, you can expect to see swelling and discoloration begin to resolve within seven to 10 days in uncomplicated cases. If a surgery is required, doctors often wait for some of this swelling to dissipate. Surgeries are performed when patients need bone fragments removed, to free muscles that give patients double vision, to repair deformities or to return the orbital rim to the correct shape following an accident.

Fortunately, in most cases, eye injuries are treatable. Over time, you can learn to live with damage to your vision if it occurs. Ongoing therapy and medical assistance may help.

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