Thirty-five years ago I lost my eye in an accident when I was 13 years old. I was with several friends on our way to check traps. We were trapping muskrat by a river, a politically incorrect activity by today’s standard!
We were preparing wooden stakes out of some poplar tree limbs as we walked toward the river. Poplar is very slippery after the bark is peeled off, and one of my friends walking in front slung a stake over his shoulder, lost his grip, and the stake struck me in the right eye. I sustained damage to the eye, as well as eyelid.
Fortunately, I received good medical care. The eyelid was well repaired and healed with very minor scaring. Unfortunately, I lost my eye.
At the time of my accident I was an active 13 year-old boy. I played baseball, basketball, football, swimming, and of course all the other activities kids do when growing up.
After the accident, I simply continued to be the same person that I was before the accident. Adjustments had to be made, of course, but the major concessions were to issues of safety.
For instance, I was a pioneer in the use of a full-face mask in football! Now, a majority of the facemasks used have more protection that the old, single bar. I also wore glasses with safety lens, to protect my remaining eye from injury. My favorite sport was wrestling, where I found monocular vision to be irrelevant to sports performance.
Having one eye did not seem to affect my dating as a teenager. Coming from a small town, most of the people knew of my accident, so there was little effort to conceal the fact that I wore an artificial eye.
I will say that one of the great loves of my youth was with a girl who was not aware of the accident when we met. I told her of my eye soon after we met, and I must say in retrospect it was not an issue with me and was apparently not with her as well.
Of course, I learned to drive with monocular vision, so I have not experienced the difficulties that others who are older when they loose and eye seem to report. I only say that, with the proper adjustments is thinking and with experience, I see no reason why a person with one eye should be prevented from driving as safely as anyone else drives.
In 1995, I had a secondary implant operation done using the new hydroxyapatite implant. I had the peg hole drilled and a new artificial eye made and modified for the peg.
The reason I had the surgery was to increase motility, but also to provide support for the artificial eye on something other that my lower eyelid. A lower eyelid alone cannot resist thirty-five years of gravity! I have been pleased with the results overall.
I would like to stress that for one’s own self-image and health, a person who wears an artificial eye should periodically visit an ocularist and ophthalmologist. A properly fitted eye and regular medical attention are paramount to successfully coping with one’s situation.
But it can be done! I encourage everyone who has lost an eye to visit the eye doctor regularly and work with your ocularist so that you can optimize your results.
I promise you that losing an eye is NOT the end of the world. Life goes on, and there is absolutely no reason why you cannot be an active participant.
No one is perfect; in body, mind or soul. Accept those imperfections that cannot be changed.
Do what you can do as well as you can, enjoy life, love others, and be kind to dogs.