Tragic sporting accident reminds BBR chairman of childhood eye trauma

5 October 2018

We have recently heard of the tragic accident that befell a spectator at the Ryder Cup Gold Tournament where a stray ball hit from the tee led to a severe injury and the loss of a right eye.

The woman concerned is truly devastated and whilst it will take some time to get past the initial trauma there will be a legacy of adaptation forever.

Our Chairman, Nick Rumney, lost sight in his right eye in a playtime accident in his own garden at the age of five.

He rapidly became familiar with the ritual attendance amongst the serried ranks at old-fashioned ophthalmic outpatients where the consultant surveyed his benches full of waiting patients from a godlike dais.

In fact, the care he received was first class but nothing could be done to recover the eyesight. Ultimately the painful eye was itself removed, much to Nicks relief, in 1974 and he has happily worn a prosthesis ever since.

“Of course being 5 I knew no different so my adaptation has been automatic. We will never know if my childhood clumsiness or lack of sporting ability was due to being monocular but I don’t feel it has held me back," he said.

“There are some things I can’t do so well; magic eye 3D pictures and TV leave me cold and I did struggle with rock climbing and motorcycling. However, there is no barrier to driving if the width of view of the remaining eye is normal. Judgement of distance within two metres is determined by the binocular vision from having two eyes but at a longer distance other cues take over.

"My biggest concern has always been safety. Loss of vision in the second eye would be catastrophic and certainly a large number of cases of total blindness arise because of the loss of the only good eye.  I always wear good eye protection and we take giving advice on this very seriously at BBR Optometry.”

Dispensing Optician Emily Davies added “Almost all lenses that we do have an element of protection being plastic and UV absorbent but there are circumstances when special protection to EN 166 (the Industrial Safety Standard) is needed.

"Employees should have this provided as a right but if you are self-employed or doing DIY there is no legal requirement to wear protection. Come and see us we can help, from work to sport to DIY.”

Don’t forget maintaining the health of the remaining eye and advising on looking after the damaged eye or prosthesis is also important. BBR Optometry recommends annual thorough examinations and charges reduced fees for monocular patients.

“If anyone is involved in trauma of this nature, Nick is more than happy to spend time with you helping you to adapt, advising you on coping strategies and, believe it or not, sharing one or two of the humorous stories that he has experienced."

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