The cornea is the clear front part of the eye that helps focus light to see clearly. A corneal abrasion is essentially a scratched eye, while a corneal laceration is a cut on the eye. In violent car accidents, dust, glass, and debris can become lodged in the eye causing an abrasion or laceration. Symptoms of a corneal abrasion include intense pain, discomfort, red eyes, and sensitivity to light. If you experience these symptoms, you should avoid rubbing your eyes and wearing contact lenses. Treatment typically consists of antibiotic eye drops. Your doctor may also recommend wearing a patch to avoid irritation from light.
Symptoms of a corneal laceration include severe pain, blood in the eye, blurred or decreased vision, tearing, and sensitivity to light. Treatment often consists of surgery to prevent further eye damage and remove any objects in the eye. Cases of severe corneal laceration may require multiple surgeries.
The retina is an inner layer of nerves lining the back of the eye. The retina sends messages to the brain, allowing vision. Retinal detachment is an emergency situation when the retina detaches from the supportive tissue. In car accidents, retinal detachment is often caused by airbags. Although airbags provide numerous safety benefits, the explosive force of airbag deployment can cause serious eye injuries, including retinal detachment. Symptoms of retinal detachment include tiny flecks in your vision, a dark or curtain-like shadow in your vision field, flashes of light, blurred vision, or vision loss in one eye. It is very important to understand that this is a serious eye injury. Failure to get immediate medical treatment may result in the permanent loss of vision.
Subjunctival hemorrhage or bleeding in the eye occurs when a blood vessel breaks in the white of the eye. This injury is caused by trauma to the eye, such as the deployment of an airbag. Symptoms include a bright, bloody patch in the eye, a scratchy feeling in the eye, and some pain and discomfort. Fortunately, this injury will not result in the loss of vision. Your doctor may recommend using tear drops to reduce the scratchy sensation. Typically, this condition will heal in one to two weeks.