Corneal damage is common in bicycle accidents

If you are a cyclist, you undoubtedly understand the importance of wearing a safety-rated helmet every time you ride. After all, bicycle helmets are usually effective for preventing catastrophic traumatic brain injuries. Regrettably, your helmet probably does not offer much protection for your eyes.

While sunglasses and riding goggles may help, your eyes are vulnerable to damage in any bicycle accident. A corneal injury may change your life forever.

What does your cornea do?

Your cornea is the outermost layer of your eyeball. This vital component of your eye focuses between 65% and 75% of the light that enters your eye. Your cornea has five critical parts:

  • The epithelium, which offers a barrier to foreign materials that may damage other parts of your eye
  • The Bowman’s layer, which has collagen to protect your eye from penetrating injuries
  • The stroma, which gives the cornea its structure and shape
  • The Descemet’s membrane, which combats both infection and injury
  • The endothelium, which keeps your cornea clear

How do bicycle accidents injure corneas?

During a bicycle crash, your cornea may collide with your sunglasses, your bike’s handlebars, the pavement or another vehicle. Even minimal impacts may cause severe damage to your cornea. This damage may include both lacerations and compressions. Foreign materials, such as rocks, may also embed in your cornea during a bicycle accident.

What is your prognosis?

Corneal damage is a leading cause of temporary and permanent blindness. Even if you do not lose your eyesight completely, an injury to your cornea may cause blurred vision. Your prognosis likely depends on the extent of your injuries, your access to emergency medical care and your overall health.

Ultimately, because a serious corneal injury may negatively affect all aspects of your life, to help you cope, you may need to pursue financial compensation from the person who caused the accident.