Of all the injuries you can potentially sustain in a car crash, one that causes vision impairment likely is the injury you most fear. Unfortunately, however, car crashes are notorious for causing head injuries. And a head injury often causes visual impairment.

The American Foundation for the Blind explains that the three categories of vision impairment consist of the following:

  1. Low vision: blurred vision, tunnel vision, blind spots in your field of vision, etc.
  2. Legal blindness: 20/200 vision or less as measured by the Suellen Eye Chart
  3. Total blindness: no light perception whatsoever

Fortunately, the chances of your car crash leaving you totally blind is only about 15%. Legal blindness, however, represents a distinct possibility.

Legal blindness

To understand legal blindness, think of the eye chart that your optometrist or ophthalmologist asks you to read when you go for your annual checkup. When you have perfect, i.e., 20/20 vision, you can read down through the eighth line of letters. When your vision becomes impaired to the point of legal blindness, you can only read the third line and above. In other words, you can only see at 20 feet what someone with perfect vision can see at 200 feet.

If your car crash injuries leave you legally blind, you likely will still retain sufficient peripheral vision to be able to tell the difference between daytime and nighttime hours, as well as between brightly lit and dimly lit rooms. You may also be able to make out shadows and some colors. In terms of what you actually see, however, this deteriorates to the point where you likely will need to use a white cane in order to navigate your surroundings without tripping and falling over obstacles in your path.