Here’s a true story from Gavin Conacher – Remember to always wear your eye protection and don’t get distracted –
On December 28, 2010 I was out snowmobiling with my niece. She was following me and drives very slowly so I was turning around periodically to see how she was coming along. We were on a snowmobile trail. It was -26C and the heated shield I was wearing only clears the center of the mask, leaving the corners foggy so I was lifting it, turning around looking back. Once I lifted my shield turned around (driving less than 10 kilometers per hour) and put it back down but not all the way (3/4 inch gap at the bottom), as I turned around I heard a crack on my helmet and suddenly pain in my left eye. I got off my snowmobile and looked down at the snow with that eye and could see fine however, the center of the eye had a big black blotch in it. When I leaned my head back upright, I felt liquid running down my face and I touched it, it was blood.
I had a global rupture of the left eye, rushed to the hospital where I had emergency surgery to try and save the eye. 54 stitches and a 4 hour surgery later I was in the recovery room in lots of pain. Since then I have had an inner optical lens installed, a tube and valve installed (to properly drain the eye and prevent glaucoma), I have had surgeries to remove stitches, I have had a vitrectomy and over 20,000 eye drops since that time. I am now on a waiting list for a cornea and doctors claim that that could take four more years plus 18 months recovery.
My advice to anyone riding recreational equipment (regardless of the season) wear goggles or some form of eye protection that is comfortable never requires that you remove it while in motion. I have many friends and others who will come up to me and tell me that my story has made them think about eye safety when outfitting themselves, children or other family.
I too find myself thinking back to that day and asking myself what if. Eyes are extremely fragile organs that cannot take any abuse whatsoever and they are both the windows to the soul but so valuable in so many other ways. I used to have 20/15 vision in both eyes, I am now 20/400 in my injured eye and my right (good) eye has suddenly become invaluable and made me reflect on what life must be like without sight.
Depressing but that is my story.