What is Work-Related Vision Loss?
Work-related vision loss is temporary or permanent loss of vision or visual acuity due to injury or conditions in the workplace. Vision loss can be the result of things such as chemical exposure, flying debris, falls, or long-term exposure to light.
Symptoms and signs of eye injury or vision loss include:
- Changes in vision level from before an injury;
- Bleeding in the eye;
- Swelling near the eye socket;
- Changes in pupil size;
- Repeated tearing up;
- Double vision;
- Reduced field of vision;
- A sensation of something in the eye;
- Sensitivity to light; and,
- Inability to fully close the eye.
Workers at risk include those working with or near chemicals, and those working with machinery that cuts, hones, or polishes materials and sends particles into the air, such as saw or lathe operators. Workers confined to spaces lighted with blue or fluorescent lighting and those routinely exposed to sunlight may also be at risk. Finally, since a fall or concussion can cause eye injuries, workers in environments where falls or the danger of objects falling on them risk injury.
Can I File for Workers’ Compensation
Benefits for Hearing or Vision Loss?
If your employer is required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance, and if you can document proof that hearing loss, vision loss, or eye injury was caused by what you do at work, you can file a claim for compensation. Because loss of hearing and vision is more difficult to prove than, for example, a broken leg resulting from a ladder collapse at work, you should retain an Oregon workers’ compensation attorney who has represented clients like you.
What Types of Benefits Can I Seek?
Workers’ compensation provides temporary disability benefits and permanent disability benefits. Which type you pursue, and it could be both, depends on the injury. Any disability resulting from the injury may be temporary or, especially with hearing loss, permanent. Besides paying for the medical treatment you need, workers' compensation will pay weekly benefits. The amount paid is based on disability level, the number of paid weeks allowed for that injury, and your current hourly wage.
Hearing loss is permanent, so compensation should include hearing aids, training, or devices that allow you to function more normally.
Hearing and Vision Loss Injury
Attorney in Beaverton, Oregon
Although you can pursue a workers’ compensation claim on your own, even the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division recommends consulting with an attorney to help guide you through the process. Your employer’s insurer is motivated to deny claims to make the insurance company more profitable. The challenge of proving that hearing or vision loss was caused by work activity makes these claims easier for insurers to deny.