Watch Out-Nicola

When I was 11 years old I was struck in the right eye with a golf ball as a result of a lunchtime putting green activity. The ball was hit with a putter so you can imagine the force that it took to gain enough air to be eye level. When someone called my name to “watch out” I raise my head and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect as if I hadn’t looked up I might not be here today to share my story. If you’ve ever seen and felt a golf ball it’s made of a pretty hard material and fits perfectly into the eye socket. I consider myself fortunate that it was my eye.

Over the next 7-8 years I went through surgery after surgery. At 16 I started experiencing headaches where it was found that I had developed secondary glaucoma from the original trauma. My vision in that eye was just that of shadows. Since I was young and glaucoma is traditionally a disease of the elderly my tissue would heal too quickly from the treatment causing it be ineffective and a short term fix. I fought as long as I could to keep the eye but it had started to delay school and becoming too disruptive to life in general with the headaches and increased pressure in my eye it was decided that I would undergo an enucleation. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s basically where they scoop the middle of the eye out and put a plastic ball in there to maintain shape and keep the muscles intact so you have as much movement as possible.

After healing I was fitted with a prosthetic (I grew up in England so all of my treatment had been in London) Several adjustments later and I had a fairly decent looking (pardon the pun) along with the prosthetic came reteaching myself how to see… even though I could only see shadows I had lost all depth perception. I had undergone a couple of surgeries to remove the plastic ball in 2000 but with relocating wasn’t aware of any services in regards to the prosthetic.

Fast forward to 2011 and here I am in San Antonio with a drooping eye lid and an obvious artificial eye which was constantly irritated. My body had grown as had my eye socket but the original prosthetic had not grown with me. I made an appointment with Dr. Wenske and was truly amazed at the process and how quick it was. I was without a prosthetic for just a few hours and the new one that he made me was near perfect with just a couple of minor adjustments made. You have to really look closely to tell that it is a prosthetic, I can now make eye contact with people without worrying if they are looking at my “fake eye” the only distinguishing sign would be a small scar and some orbital malformation both from the golf ball trauma.

Anyhow, that’s the quick version of my story. It’s not the end of the world to lose an eye but I do my best to take care of the one that I have left and live life to the fullest knowing how lucky I am.

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