A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result in lasting physical and cognitive disabilities, including vision dysfunction that makes it difficult to engage in the activities of daily living. If you've suffered a TBI as the result of another driver's negligence, you're entitled to compensation.
About Binocular Visual Dysfunction
Binocular visual dysfunction (BVD) is one of the most common visual impairments associated with a TBI. This condition results when a blow to the head interrupts the neurological system and causes damage to the extraocular muscles that control eye movements and regulate focusing.
In a patient with BVD, the line of sight from one eye is noticeably out of alignment with the line of sight from the other eye. As a result, the eye muscles are constantly working overtime to try to correct the misalignment. When the muscles can't keep up, this condition results in:
- Double vision
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor depth perception
- Motion sickness
- Fitful or restless sleep
Reading and driving are the two activities that are most difficult for patients suffering from BVD, although any task that relies heavily on visual input can create problems.
It's important to note that someone with a TBI can still suffer from BVD even if he has 20/20 vision. The 20/20 measurement does not indicate normal vision; rather, it's only a measure of what's known as visual acuity—the eye’s ability to pick out visual details at a distance of 20 feet. Seeing clearly from a distance, while important, is just one component of a healthy vision system.
A patient suffering from BVD should consult an ophthalmologist with experience in treating the eye muscle and nerve damage resulting from a TBI.
The most common treatment for BVD is realigning the eyes using prismatic lenses or prism correction added to an existing eyeglass prescription. Patching can sometimes be used as well, but this approach should only be done under close supervision. It can make double vision worse if done incorrectly.
Lifestyle changes may also be recommended to help a patient cope with the symptoms of BVD. These include:
- Taking frequent breaks when reading to prevent eye strain.
- Using large print materials or e-readers that allow for an increase in text size and contrast.
- Avoiding florescent lights in favor of natural light or non-glare, non-fluorescent lighting.
- Cutting down on visual clutter in the environment by eliminating unnecessary objects and placing all items needed to complete a task close together.
- Creating a high contrast environment that makes it easier to see objects clearly. This could include using a dark colored cutting board to chop onions and other light colored vegetables.
Lifestyle changes to address the symptoms of BVD can be implemented with other TBI therapies, including occupational, physical, and recreation therapy.
Recovering from a TBI can result in significant financial strain. If you've suffered a TBI due to another driver's negligence, you're entitled to compensation for:
- Past medical expenses, including surgery, rehabilitative therapy, and follow-up care
- Any anticipated future medical expenses related to the accident
- Lost wages during the recovery process
- Loss of future income, if you're unable to work or working in a lower-paying occupation due to your injury
- Pain and suffering
If you were determined to be partially at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, you're still entitled to compensation. However, the settlement will be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault.
Finding Skilled Legal Representation
Personal injury law is very complex and difficult to navigate when you're struggling with the effects of a TBI. To protect yourself, it's best to enlist the services of an experienced personal injury attorney who can advocate for your needs throughout the settlement process.
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