Surveys show that people fear blindness more than any other disability. If you feel the same way, your reasons likely include fearing living in constant darkness, the inability to see the people and objects around you, your resulting dependence on others to get you where you need to go, and a host of other negative things. 

Unfortunately, upwards of 25,000 people lose partial or total vision each year due to car crashes, according to Ideal Eyecare. Retinal detachment represents the most common cause. 

How your retinas work 

You have a retina in the back of each eye. When light enters your eyes, it reaches your brain via your retinas, the thin linings that send light to your optic nerves and from there to your brain for processing. If your retinas become partially or completely detached, the result is partial and total blindness respectively. In a car crash, a direct eye injury can cause your retinas to detach. So can a traumatic brain injury. 

Retinal detachment symptoms 

You likely will know immediately if one or both of your retinas partially detach. You will experience the sudden onset of decreased vision, consisting of one or more of the following: 

  • Loss of your peripheral or central vision in the affected eye(s) 
  • The sensation of viewing everything through a gray curtain 
  • The appearance of floaters in your eye(s) 
  • The appearance of flashing lights in your eye(s) 
  • Possible headache and/or nausea 

Treatment 

Retinal detachment represents a medical emergency. You have only about 24 hours to get the proper surgical treatment in order to save your vision. Generally, ophthalmologists perform one of the following types of surgery depending on your precise eye injury and its severity: 

  • Laser surgery 
  • Cryopexy 
  • Scleral buckle 
  • Pneumatic retinopexy 

Without one of these surgeries, your current partial or total blindness will become permanent.