Can an MVA cause vision loss?

Unfortunately, the answer to the title question is yes, a motor vehicle could injure your eyes and/or head sufficiently to cause partial or total blindness. 

Ideal Eyecare explains that each year, approximately 25,000 people lose some or all of their sight as the result of a car crash. The most common causes include sustaining a traumatic brain injury that negatively impacts your ability to see or sustaining a direct eye injury that causes your retinas to partially or completely detach. 

Understanding retinal detachment 

Each of your eyes contains a thin lining, called the retina, in the back that allows your optic nerves to receive the light coming in and transmit it to your brain. Your brain then processes the light, allowing you to see. Should your retinas detach during a car crash, your ability to see decreases in proportion to the extent of the detachment. 

Assuming you sustain only partial retinal detachment, you will not lose your vision completely. Instead, you likely will notice one or more of the following: 

  • Your peripheral or central vision decreases significantly. 
  • You see “floaters” in one or both eyes. 
  • You see flashing lights in one or both eyes. 
  • You feel as though you are looking at everything through a gray curtain. 
  • You develop a severe headache, possibly producing nausea and/or vomiting. 

Getting treatment 

Retinal detachment represents a medical emergency. You have only about 24 hours to undergo the proper surgical procedure to save your sight. 

If caught in time, retinal detachment can be repaired and your vision restored to normal. Without more or less immediate repair, however, your retinal detachment could worsen, ultimately resulting in permanent total detachment. If this happens, you face the prospect of becoming completely blind for the rest of your life.