Eye Expert Witness for Dog Bite Injuries

posted in: Eye Injuries

Dog bites frequently result in damage to areas involving the eyelid and damage to the eye.  Some of these injuries may be serious and threaten vision.  In such cases it is essential for an eye expert witness for dog bite injuries to assess the nature and extent of injury.  An eye expert may also be helpful in determining the prognosis and future care of the injuries.

Children bitten by dogs were over four times likely to sustain ocular injuries than adults.  In many circumstances the facial area of children since it is in close proximity to a dog attack.  Compared with adults with dog bite injuries, children have a high incidence of injuries involving the tear duct system.

Emergency Room records are often reviewed to determine the length of time from injury to treatment, the extent of injury, and the appropriateness of treatment.  Emergency Room records usually include results of scans and other radiologic studies.  Records of consulting physicians and nursing staff are reviewed for quality of care.

The scope of possible injuries involving the eyelids.  Eyelid injuries from dog bites can cause deformities, nerve damage, tear duct problems, and disfigurement.  Dog bites to the eye can cause damage to the cornea and internal areas of the eye.  Injury to the eye itself can cause distortion or loss of vision.  Management of eyelid injuries includes antibiotics, creams to minimize scarring and promote healing, and remedial surgery to treat scars, minimize disfigurement, and restore functional impairment.  Moreover, there are intangible physical and psychological injuries due to pain and suffering of the injured dog bite victim that may be addressed by qualified experts.

Bites involving the eyelid can result in removal (avlusion) or tearing of tissue.  Tearing of the eyelid may cause profuse bleeding since the area has an extensive vascular supply.  A dog bite is considered a “dirty” injury since dogs carry a variety of potentially harmful bacteria in their oral passages.  The most common bacteria associated with dog bites are Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, and Clostridium.

Nerve damage is also a consideration since important nerves such as the facial nerve that controls muscles of the face passes through and controls the muscles of the eyelid.  A combination of a torn eyelid and nerve damage can cause droopiness of the eyelid, a condition known as ptosis.  An ophthalmology expert for dog bite injuries can determine the extent of injury and the procedures needed to correct traumatic ptosis.

Dog bites to the inner portion of the eyelids are prone to have injury to the tear duct system.  An intact tear duct system is essential for proper drainage of moisture from the surface of the eye into the nasal cavity.  An injury to the tear duct system can result in chronic tearing, a condition known as epiphora.  A qualified eye expert witness may be able to review surgical options, their cost, and their likelihood for success.

Some of the most serious injuries from dog bites are those that cause direct damage to the eye.  Injury to the cornea can result in a painful corneal abrasion.  Corneal abrasions can also predispose to infections.  Deep injuries to the cornea or internal portions of the eye can cause scarring, bleeding, and permanent damage.  All of these conditions can cause loss of vision.

A qualified eye expert witness may objectively assess the extent of injury and provide useful information to assist attorneys and other involved participants in evaluating and litigating dog bite injuries.

1) Prendes MA, Jian-Amadi A, Chang SH, Shaftel SS. Ocular trauma from dog bites: Characterization, associations, and treatment patterns at a regional level I trauma center over 11 years. Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 2015 June 22.

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