Why Am I Losing Depth Perception After My Car Accident?

Are you confused or scared about what’s going on with your vision after a car accident? If you’re having trouble judging distances or seeing things that are far away, you might be suffering from depth perception loss. Read on to learn more about what this is and what you can do about it.

What is Depth Perception?

Simply put, depth perception is the ability to see objects in three dimensions and to judge how far away a given object is. Basically, when you look at an object, each of your eyes sends a slightly different picture of the object to your brain and your brain then puts these two images together so that you see the object. This happens at lightning speed so that you can see!
Depth perception generally requires the use of both eyes, so if you lose an eye or most of your ability to see out of one eye, you won’t have much depth perception. However, after a while, your brain gets used to only getting an image from one eye and is able to adjust its processing of images so that you can regain some of your depth perception.
If you lost your depth perception altogether, the world would appear completely flat to you. This is very uncommon but does happen occasionally, and this kind of severe problem can make it difficult not only to see but to navigate safely through your neighborhood or even your home.
Even without this kind of extreme loss of depth perception, you might be at extra risk of injury if you have depth perception problems. People with limited depth perception can’t judge distances very well, which is a problem if you’re driving. You might have a hard time judging when it’s safe to change lanes or whether you’re close enough to the curb when parking. It also puts you at greater risk of accidental injuries, such as missing a step and falling on the stairs or falling off a curb while walking because you couldn’t distinguish it from the street. You might also have minor accidents such as spilling water while pouring it or become frustrated with tasks that used to be easy for you such as threading a needle.

loss of depth perception after car accidentDepth Perception Loss and Car Accidents

According to the American Optometric Association, it’s common for vision to decline slightly after age 60, but the loss of depth perception is not usually associated with age. It most often occurs as the result of an injury to one or both eyes or because of muscle weakness in the eyes. In addition, injuries to your brain can cause depth perception issues, since your brain needs to process the images from your eyes in order to see correctly.
A 2015 study showed that car accidents were the most common cause of eye injuries in children younger than 10, while adults most often injured their eyes in slips and falls. However, hitting your head in a car accident can lead to a traumatic brain injury, which likely will result in a loss of depth perception. Either way, it’s important to take depth perception problems seriously in order to prevent further accidents.

Ideas to Try If You’re Having Depth Perception Problems

If you’re having problems judging distances or depth of objects, your first stop may be your eye doctor. He or she can diagnose the issue and can recommend one of several accommodations to help you see better and move more easily and safely.
There are several options available for those with depth perception issues.
  • Occupational therapy. Occupational therapists help you regain skills after an injury to your brain and give you exercises to do to retrain yourself to see better despite a brain or eye injury.
  • Bioptic lenses. These are special lenses for people with poor depth perception that have a miniature telescope mounted on one or both lenses to help with perceiving distance and depth. These lenses can only be prescribed by an ophthalmologist and may or may not allow you to keep driving.
  • Reflective tape for stairs and curbs. One DIY solution to help protect you from slips and falls is to use reflective tape to help you see where all the steps in a staircase are or where the curb ends. The tape can help you be more aware of when you need to watch your step, especially at night when it is even harder to see.
  • Use of a white cane for navigation. You might have seen blind people walk with a white cane. That’s because a cane can be used to feel for objects in your path and alert you to their presence. This is as helpful for people with low depth perception as for those who are completely blind since lack of depth perception can cause difficulties with judging how far away objects are or seeing obstacles that you may trip over.
People sometimes feel embarrassed to use these tools. But remember: they’re there to help you avoid accidents! It might be worth it to try one or more of them and see how you feel afterward.

Conclusion

Depth perception problems can significantly interfere with your quality of life. Difficulty seeing objects at a distance can make it harder to complete everyday tasks like pouring yourself a glass of water or threading a needle and can make it unsafe to drive or even to walk.
The good news is that there’s help available. In addition, if you lost depth perception as a result of a car accident, you might be entitled to compensation. Contact Smiley Injury Law today if you’d like to schedule a consultation.

Learn More From Smiley Law Firm’s Injury Blog

Here at Smiley Law Firm we write about the topic of brain trauma extensively. We have a number of blogs and articles covering the following topics. Please read them and leave comments if you find the information helpful.

Comments

  1. Seth Smiley

    on July 17, 2019

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