Thursday, May 5, 2011

UFC Fighter escapes retinal detatchment

UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre had to take a break from competition because of an eye injury.

Following a fight that left him unable to see out of his left eye, he went doctors who suspected a detached retina. This is a serious condition that requires emergency surgery or else permanent blindness may result.

Luckily, Mr. St. Pierre's retina was not detached and he will fully recover in a short time.

This story highlights the importance of taking sports impact injuries seriously when they happen to the eye or the head generally. Detached retina due to impact can happen to anyone.

(But remember that retinal detachment can occur even without an impact. Go see an optometrist immediately or go to the ER if it is after business hours if you experience any sudden changes in your vision)

People who are highly myopic are at increased risk of retinal detachment and they need to be extra careful. Even if you have had laser surgery to correct your myopia, your risk level is still high. This is because the surgery merely alters the cornea at the front of your eye and does not change the physiology at the back of your eye where the retina is located.

I frequently have patients who come in to have their retina examined after being hit in the head or near the eye with a baseball or have suffered some other impact. I'm always pleasantly surprised that these patients know about the risk and take their health seriously!

Read more about Georges St. Pierre's injury here.