Orange County Attorneys Explain Collecting
Workers Comp for Eye Injury, Blindness & Vision
Unfortunately, eye injuries on the job – and eye conditions related to work – are relatively common. The good news is that the California’s workers’ compensation program entitles workers with work-related vision disorders to obtain Workers Comp benefits.
Whether the eye or vision disorder is the result of one single event at work – or the result of repeated activities in the workplace over time – our Long Beach workers comp attorneys can help you collect the maximum benefits for which you qualify.
While collecting workers compensation for eye injuries due to a workplace accident is more straightforward, employers and workers comp insurance companies often try to deny or minimize vision disorder workers comp claims. In many cases they may try to assert that the blindness or vision disorder was actually caused by something other than work activities. They may deny a workers comp claim by contending that the condition was actually the result of heredity, a pre-existing disease, a communicable illness, or another non-work activity.
When this happens it is essential to consult with an experienced Workers Comp attorney who is familiar with eye injury and blindness cases.
Causes of Workers Comp Eye Injuries
Eye injuries are a significant concern in US workplaces, causing immense suffering and economic burden to injured employees. Manufacturing, construction, and healthcare consistently rank among the highest-risk industries for eye or vision damage. And while proper eye protection, hazard awareness, and training are instrumental in avoiding these often preventable injuries, accidents still happen. And, in many cases, working conditions may contribute to chronic eye or vision impairment that could not be anticipated or avoided.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 18,510 eye-related injuries resulted in at least one day away from work in 2020. While workplace personal protection experts HexArmor report that more than 300,000 work-related eye injuries send people to the emergency room each year.
No workplace is immune from the danger of eye injuries. While dangerous conditions are more common in industrial, construction or manufacturing workplaces – hundreds of American’s damage their eyesight in office and retail settings, too.
The manufacturing industry leads in employee eye injury rates according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with 124.3 cases per 10,000 workers in 2020. The second highest rate of workplace eye injuries is found in the construction field with 115.6 cases per 10,000 workers in 2020. Falls, flying debris, and welding fumes are significant hazards in both of these industries.
Surprising to many, the third highest rate of eye injury occurs in healthcare with 98.2 cases per 10,000 workers in 2020, according to the BLS. Needles, sharps, chemicals, and bloodborne pathogens pose the highest risks of eye and vision damage to healthcare workers.
Metalworking, woodworking, and chemical plants also pose high risks to workers’ eyes from flying debris, chemicals exposure, and radiation. While agriculture, forestry, logging, farming, and landscaping workers risk eye injury from dust, branches, and chemicals. Forklift accidents, falling objects, and chemical spills can also cause eye injuries in transportation and warehousing fields.
Common Workers Comp Eye Injuries
A single event, accident or trauma may lead to the eye injury or vision impairment, including:
- scratched cornea;
- metal, dust or glass particles in the eye;
- chemical splashes or burns;
- welder’s flash burns;
- exposure to smoke or noxious or poisonous gases;
- trauma to the face or damage to the bones surrounding the eyes;
- exposure to communicable diseases & bloodborne pathogens.
Long-Term Workers Comp Vision Disorders
While many of us associate workplace eye injuries with dramatic accidents or sudden chemical splashes, a silent threat lurks in the form of chronic exposure to seemingly innocuous conditions. Over time, these seemingly minor exposures can lead to vision damage, vision impairment, and even blindness.
As a result, some workers will develop vision disorders over time rather than due to any single accident or event causing damage to the eye. For example, computer workers may face increased risk of eyestrain from long hours staring at a monitor, resulting in nearsightedness or other vision disorders. Similarly, employees who do close-up, fine work such as sewing or assembling small electronic parts may suffer vision disorders brought on by repeated eyestrain.
Staring at digital screens for extended periods can trigger Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), a condition characterized by eye strain, headaches, blurry vision, and dry eyes. While not typically a cause of permanent vision loss, CVS can significantly impact productivity and quality of life. Similarly, Computer Vision Syndrome due to prolonged exposure to artificial blue light emitted from digital screens disrupts the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle and strains the eyes’ focusing muscles.
More serious is Occupational Presbyopia due to prolonged near work, particularly in dimly lit environments. Symptoms include difficulty focusing on close objects and headaches – and leads to a decreased ability to change focus between near and far distances. This condition resembles age-related presbyopia but affects younger individuals.
Long-term exposure to certain chemicals in the workplace over time – such as solvents, paints, and welding fumes – can damage the cornea, retina, and optic nerve, potentially leading to cataracts, macular degeneration, and even vision loss. This results from the toxic chemicals continuously irritating and inflaming the eyes, which disrupts cellular function, and damages delicate eye structures over time.
Qualifying for Workers Comp for Eye Injury or Vision Problems
While mild or moderate eye injuries may heal quickly, some vision disorders may eliminate a worker’s ability to perform their job either temporarily or even permanently – especially in cases of partial or total blindness.
As long as the eye injury or illness: (1.) occurred at (or was directly related to) your job; and (2.) it prevents you from performing your job, you are eligible to collect workers compensation for your vision problems.
Remember, it does not matter whose fault it was. Even if a mistake, clumsiness, or even carelessness on your part – or on the part of another employee – caused the eye injury you can still collect workers comp for vision impairment or blindness. In many cases, eye injury accidents are also the result of improper training, unsafe working conditions, failure to provide protective eyewear, or defective equipment. But whatever the cause, as long as you were at work or performing your work duties, you should be covered by workers compensation for eye injuries.
Long Beach Workers Comp Attorneys | Eye Injury & Blindness
If you suffered an eye injury, vison problems or blindness as a result of performing your job, our experienced Long Beach Workers Comp attorneys are here to help you. If your employer or their workers comp insurance adjuster has denied your benefits – or has made claims that your eye condition is not work related – it is essential to call our workers comp attorneys as soon as possible.
Remember injured workers have a limited time to appeal a Workers Comp denial. But a Workers Comp attorney who is has experience with eye damage and vision problem cases will be able to help you present the documentation you need to help you obtain the benefits you deserve – as rapidly as possible.
Our Long Beach workers comp attorneys have obtained millions of dollars for disabled, vision impaired and blind workers. Our attorneys know how the California Workers Compensation System works and how to fight for you to obtain the maximum benefits for which you qualify.
Long Beach Workers Comp Attorneys: 562-622-4800
Workers Compensation attorneys for Los Angeles, Orange County & Southern California, including: Anaheim, Carson, Bellflower, Compton, Downey, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, La Habra, La Mirada, Lakewood, Lomita, Long Beach, San Pedro, Santa Ana, Torrance, Wilmington, Whittier and Yorba Linda.