50% of all cases of sight loss in the UK are preventable .
This is despite the fact that we normally associate loss of sight with causes that cannot be attributed to negligent conduct, such as with cases of those that are born with deficiencies of sight. Indeed, around a million people live with preventable sight loss in the UK today.
Any extent of sight loss due to negligence can be a devastating thing for a person to experience. This may mean that a person loses the ability to complete simple tasks around the home, continue employment or, in many circumstances, lead an independent life. These potentially extreme changes in an injured person’s overall capability means it can be a challenging time for them and their loved ones, both financially and emotionally.
Loss of sight can be categorised in two ways: the first according to its extent and the second according to its severity:
This is better known as blindness, where a person’s vision is completely obsolete.
Blindness usually results when a person’s brain or eyes cannot interpret different light waves as visual pictures.
Partial loss of sight consists of some loss of vision within a particular visual field with at least some ability to see still remaining.
For example, a person was blinded in one eye could be considered as having suffered a partial loss of sight as they still have some vision.
Additionally, partial sight loss may involve faults in particular areas or of particular aspects of an injured person’s vision, causing blind spots, tunnel vision or blurred vision.
Sight loss that does not subside is the result of permanent damage either to the retina or to the particular areas of the brain that play a part in visual perception.
Permanent loss of sight can result from varied causes, such as a brain tumour, a clot in the eye or a torn retina.
Sight loss of a temporary nature may last for a very minor period of time or even a relatively long one but tends not to last for a period of months without returning.
It can be caused by migraines, bright flashes of light or even standing up too quickly when blood pressure is low.
Injury caused to the brain from an impact to the head can cause sight loss if the areas of the brain that control or contribute to sight are damaged or affected in some way.
If a health professional fails to diagnose a patient with a condition that they could have been reasonably expected to, it may result in blindness.
Furthermore, if they fail to appropriately or promptly treat a condition that may cause blindness, this can exacerbate the condition or allow it to progress.
In both cases, a medical professional would most likely be liable for being medically negligent.
Poor treatment in terms of glasses or contact lens prescriptions can cause a loss of sight. Moreover, laser eye surgery is not risk-free and has in the past caused sight loss in patients.
Bright lights from explosions, lasers or intense lighting products can do serious damage to a person’s eyes, causing severe and even permanent blindness due to the damage that can be caused by over-saturating the retina.
Our eyelids, eyelashes and eyebrows, as well as the deep-set nature of our eyes within the head, all aim to protect the eyes from small or corrosive substances from, but if suitable protective equipment is not worn when operating many types of machinery or handling particular chemicals, loss of sight can be caused by tiny particles or chemical substances which can infiltrate the inner workings of the eyes.
Many sharp tools are used in workplaces, especially in the manufacturing and construction industries, as well as kitchens at home and for home DIY projects.
If suitable precautions are not taken with regards to wearing safety equipment and if tools such as knives are not used for their assigned purposes, a person runs the risk of a life-changing loss of sight injury.
The ability to see is one of the most vital senses that humans use. Much of our society is built upon customs that assume the participant has the ability to visually interact, such as television, marketing and education.
This is not to imply that a person who has suffered sight loss cannot lead a full life, but it is sensible to recognise the difficulties that may be faced by a person who is forced to adapt after losing their sight.
The psychological effects of losing the ability to see can be debilitating, with many people suffering from depression due to a lack of confidence in their ability to complete tasks they previously considered simple.
The experience of loss of sight claims among our expert solicitors ensures that they are ideal legal representation to pursue a claim for compensation on your behalf. The help they can provide through obtaining compensation for you will go some way to relieving the burden on your shoulders so you can plan ahead for the future while concentrating on your recovery. Without this vital help, sight loss injuries can have devastating effects on all aspects of a person’s life as well as the lives of those closest to them.
Perhaps the trickiest aspect of sight loss from a practical point of view surrounds the difficulty a person may have in completing tasks that they previously completed thanks a great deal to their sight, such as climbing stairs, cooking or getting dressed.
The remaining senses often compensate for the lack of sight, but this can take some time to hone as most people are not used to depending on their hearing for the purposes of coordination and balance.
Likewise, an injured person with sight loss may have difficulty maintaining their independence as a person with serious sight loss cannot legally drive or get around as easily as a sighted person. Basic activities such as pouring a drink and reading a book become extremely difficult.
The same activities that a person took pleasure from before they suffered sight loss may not be able to be participated in due to their new condition because of the nature of the activity in relation to the need for vision, such as many mainstream sports.
Social activities participated in before a person lost their sight may not be possible to the same extent or at all due to the nature of the activity in question and disabilities they suffer from, such as most sports.
A person unable to participate in the same activities as before their loss of sight may feel helpless and isolated, due to the lack of social interaction at the same level they previously had.
A person who has lost their ability to see may feel self-conscious about their disability due to their differences to the majority of people. They may begin to harbour a fear of how others will react to their lack of vision or aids, such as a white cane, and begin acting in an ashamed manner, thus restricting themselves socially, in employment and in education.
The efficacy of treatments for sight loss and the aids that are available to ease the burden on a loss of sight victim are improving all the time, with many people leading independent lives with the use of brilliantly trained guide-dogs and devices that assist in the completion of household tasks.
The treatment, rehabilitation and therapy provided for those with sight loss aim to allow the injured person to have a good quality of life by maximising their independence by teaching techniques for them to live independently with their disability, imparting knowledge on how best to reintegrate into society with their disability and structuring their time to ensure their activity levels are as high as possible.
Our experience panel of expert serious injury solicitors understand the important treatment, rehabilitation and therapy in the recovery and improvement processes. They also recognise the need for emotional support for an injured person and their family in order to ensure that the challenging recovery process is confronted with full effort and without the need for the family to sacrifice other aspects of life, such as education or employment. Our expert solicitors’ experience of loss of sight claims is invaluable in order that they may obtain on your behalf the compensation that you and your loved ones need to begin the rebuilding process after your injuries, starting with tailored treatment, rehabilitation and therapy.
This ranges from getting and learning to operate with a trained guide-dog or a white cane to gadget that help with domestic tasks, such as one that tells a person with sight loss that the glass they are pouring a drink into is full.
An important skill that those with a loss of sight can learn to improve many practical problems is the learning of brail, which is the language of touch for the visually challenged community.
It is imperative to place much of the duty for the process of maximising independence on the injured party themselves, as long as this is not overwhelming for them, especially in terms of facilitating their ability to complete ordinary tasks, such as bathing and getting dressed without excessive assistance.
A sense of responsibility for their own care and recovery gives a loss of sight victim a greater sense of self-worth and encourages the redevelopment of their independence in order to eventually maximise it in an attempt for them to lead a normal life in the future.
One type of psychotherapy, called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is extremely effective. It generally targets those with or at risk of depression as a result of their injuries. It aims to discover how an individual’s thought processes affect their actions and the way their actions affect their thought processes. By targeting thought processes and actions that reinforce them, negativity in their thinking can be reduced while positive thoughts are encouraged. This can help to reduce stress levels and allow a person to look ahead to the future by wielding a positive outlook.
Depression of the injured person or a family member can hinder the physical recovery of the injured person, especially if a loss of sight victim has PTSD, so different types of psychotherapy aim to address or avoid problems such as depression by tackling psychological and emotional frailties.
Tasks that were previously considered simple by the injured person, such as bathing, are likely to be difficult for many of those who have suffered from a loss of sight. This type of therapy aims to maximise a person’s independence by helping them to adapt to their new level of capability in order to perform the tasks they need to on a daily basis.