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Long trek to Eye and Ear saves bushwalker's sight

March 30, 2013

Long trek to Eye and Ear saves bushwalker's sight Gray Ardern
A bushwalk among the beautiful surrounds of the Little Desert National Park almost cost Gray Ardern the sight in one eye.

Gray began to notice he was losing the vision in his right eye when he was already well into a bushwalk in the remote national park, located near Dimboola in country Victoria. His retina had in fact begun to detach, while he was still four hours away from the nearest township.

“I knew I had to get myself to the Eye and Ear without delay, so in just over four hours I walked the 21 kilometres to Horseshoe Bend. From there, a kind stranger drove me to Dimboola in time for the day's last V/Line service to Melbourne, Gray said.

Gray was admitted that night and underwent surgery the following day, involving a vitrectomy or removal of the gel inside the eye and laser reattachment of the retina. Fully conscious during the operation,

Gray said he could see the gel being applied and the green flashes of the laser as surgeons restored sight to his right eye.

“I am fully aware that I would have lost the sight of my right eye if I had not received such timely and expert attention.

“Everybody who attended me at the Eye and Ear impressed me with their kindness and competence. At all times I felt that I was being treated as a person and not just a diagnosis, Gray said.

Since his treatment, Gray has volunteered with the hospital, beginning his training earlier this year.

“I feel immense gratitude to the Eye and Ear for saving my sight and that is why I wanted to join the volunteer program.

“I have now resumed cycling, cross-country running, rock climbing and of course bushwalking. All of these activities require the good binocular vision that has been restored to me and I am particularly grateful to the surgical team who saved my sight, Gray said.