Mechanic blinded in horror injury as metal shard flew off car straight into eye

A garage owner who was instantly blinded when a 3.5mm piece of metal pierced his eye in a freak accident at work.

Lee Rodger, 46, was walking past a colleague working on a car last year when a fragment from a chisel shot up and lodged into his eyeball.

Shocking images show the devastating impact of the shard, which caused blood spotting and considerable bruising.

Lee instantly lost vision and was rushed to hospital, where he was given the devastating news the odds of saving his eye, let alone vision, were slim.

But, he has now had his vision restored thanks to specialist surgery.

He underwent a three-hour operation to remove the metal before having laser surgery and then another op to insert an artificial lens.

Miraculously, after the third operation, Lee regained 20/20 vision and has maintained close to it since.

He is among the few people to have their sight restored following a penetrating eye injury with an impact site so close to the centre of vision.

Lee said: "The team knew what to do and when they were going to do it. I was in the right place and in specialist hands.

"When I started regaining my sight, I could literally see how unbelievably steady my surgeon's hand was."

Lee, from Immingham, North Lincolnshire., was cared for by a specialist eye team at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals in South Yorkshire.

He said: "From the minute I arrived in Sheffield everything changed.

"My pandemic story has been different from others, all the emphasis has been on my recovery, but the team at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals have been absolutely fantastic and I am forever in their debt."

The accident happened at Lee's car workshop in March 2020.

He was rushed to A&E straight away, where doctors realised the severity and transferred him to Sheffield's Hallamshire Hospital Eye Unit.

Lee was told the odds of saving his eye, let alone restoring his vision, were slim.

He spent the next week setting alarms to take daily eye drops, antibiotics and looking face down towards the floor, morning to bedtime, to encourage his retina to reattach to his eye.

The first operation saw the metal removed from his eye, while the surgeon skillfully secured his retina.

Lee said: "It was really devastating. There was the initial trauma and then apprehension about living with this life-changing injury.

"I play golf, fish, race cars and it was just ticking round in my brain that I wouldn't be able to do these things again."

Having lost the use of one eye, Lee's peripheral vision had completely gone, making it difficult to do everyday things.

He added: "I had no perception of depth curves. I had to relearn even simple things like walking down steps. Ultimately I was scared and a little part of me was angry too.

"That piece of metal could have hit me anywhere, my cheek, my nose, but it hit my eye instead. But the specialist services at Sheffield made all the difference, night and day."

Another two major eye operations were performed on his eye, to remove the oil and scar tissue that had formed whilst further securing the retina with laser, then finally to insert a new artificial lens.

Meanwhile, the shard of metal that injured him is hung up on the wall in the reception in his garage so customers can see.

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