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Protect your eyes - Matthew's story

July 5, 2013

Matthew Vinci

Keen futsal soccer player, Matthew Vinci found out how important eye protection is the hard way. When he was helping his brother put up a pergola in the garden last Spring, a piece of metal from a grinder flew up and hit his eye.

The metal seemed to bounce off but when Matthew's vision started to get more and more blurry, he decided to go to the Eye and Ear Emergency Department.

Everybody was rushing around me in Emergency so I knew something was seriously wrong. It turns out the metal had punctured my lens and I had an operation to take it out the next day, Matthew says.

Each year 45,000 patients come into the Eye and Ear Emergency Department. Matthew is one of around 80 patients treated each year who have a penetrating eye injury or ruptured eye.

Most of these patients are young men like 24 year-old Matthew, and three quarters say they had no eye protection when the accident happened. Unfortunately, a third of these cases never regain good vision in the affected eye.

Dr Elsie Chan treated Matthew in the Emergency Department. She said: “Matthew is very, very lucky. He had an emergency operation to remove the damaged lens inside his eye and a few months later he had an artificial lens inserted and his vision is back to normal now.”

Matthew says that he always wears eye protection when he uses machinery now, both at home and at work.
“I've been told so many times how lucky I am. I won't risk it again – I'll always wear eye protection around machinery. The doctors and nurses at the Eye and Ear were fantastic. I was really worried at first but they explained everything to me at each stage. And they gave me my sight back, which is brilliant,” Matthew says.

Asked for advice on what to do if you think you have damaged your eye, Dr Chan said: “If you have an injury to the eye and your vision gets worse straight away, you must get your eyes checked. Matthew's story is an example of how an injury that you may think isn't important has the potential to be very serious.”