Eye injury would have been prevented by safety glasses

By Dr. John Henahan
Special to The Citizen

We have all been reminded of the importance of safety glasses when using grinders, power saws and weed trimmers, said Dr. John Henahan of Spectrum Eyecare in Peachtree City.  "An unfortunate patient in my office the other day reminded me of just how any tool can cause a serious eye injury."

“A young man came into my office with a painful red eye after leaving his warehouse job.  He had been using a staple gun to attach labels to crates.  I expected a simple scratch on the cornea, but instead was shocked to see a portion of the staple had lodged itself deeply in his eyeball."

Upon further questioning the young man revealed that he believes the staple hit something buried in the wood of the crate, and the staple ricocheted back into his eye.
“Upon examination, I was able to see that one of the tines of the staple had broken off and shot back into the eye, piercing it like a mini spear.  Because of the high velocity it easily ripped through his cornea and iris (the colored part of the eye)”, continued Dr. Henahan.

"I was fearful that if I attempted to extract the staple that it would further damage the sensitive inside of the eye.  I referred him to a specialist in Atlanta who performed emergency surgery to remove the staple."

Often in these cases, the sensitive film in the back of the eye (called the retina) or other eye tissues are irreparably harmed often resulting in blindness, and even loss of the eye.

Luckily for this young man, the specialist, Dr. Evan Loft of Eye Consultants of Atlanta, was able to carefully extract the object with no apparent permanent damage.

“The patient may require a second surgery if the lens inside the eye becomes cloudy with a traumatic cataract, but even then he should have a full visual recovery,” reported Dr. Loft.

Dr. Loft that he sees up to 10 patients per year with a penetrating eye injury.  “He is just one specialist of the many in Atlanta”, reminds Dr. Henahan.  That means in Atlanta alone, there are hundreds of such injuries per year, often with much worse outcomes.

When using any type of power tool or even a tool that strikes with force (such as a hammer), always wear safety glasses.

Dr. John Henahan has practiced for 20 years and has been living and practicing in Peachtree City since 1999.  If you would like to contact Dr. Henahan or make an appointment you can call 770-487-0667 or contact us at speceye.com

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