Man survives a nail in the eye A CT scan with a nail in the eye of a patient (AP photos)
Man survives a nail in the eye
Lexile

There must have been a four-leaf clover in those weeds.

A 27-year-old landscaper escaped with barely a scratch after a nearly 3-inch nail hurtled into his eye when he accidentally hit it with a weed-whacker.

Doctors who removed the nail at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital described the case in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"When you looked at him, all you saw was the back end of the nail," said Dr. Wael Asaad. It was in his right eye. Asaad is a neurosurgeon who is now at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University.

It happened about two years ago and the man wasn't identified.

Doctors couldn't tell how long the nail was or its path. Radiologist Dr. Rajiv Gupta used a new type of CT scanner so he could get detailed images.

"It reached almost to the tip of the other eye and the brain. It was a very long nail," he said.

The good news was that it had not penetrated the globe of the eye, but was to one side.

The bad news was that it was lodged against one of the main arteries supplying blood to the head and another artery serving the other eye.

"The tip of the nail was like the finger in the dam. We were worried that if we pulled it out, there would be bleeding." A jet of blood could damage the other eye or the brain. It could even prove fatal, Asaad said.

They made an elaborate plan in case an artery ruptured and had to be repaired. One surgeon was ready to operate through the head. A second surgeon was ready to operate through the neck. As these two stood by, a third surgeon carefully pulled out the nail.

They waited several minutes. No major bleeding occurred. They stopped sedating him and the patient was allowed to wake. After a tetanus shot and a prescription for five days of preventive antibiotics, he was on his way.

A checkup eight weeks later showed his vision had returned to normal. Had the nail struck 1 millimeter away, he likely would have had major damage, doctors said.

As dramatic as it was, "nails penetrating the skull are not as uncommon as you would think," Asaad said. They are usually from nail gun accidents.

Gupta said the lesson is clear.

"Wear eye protection whenever operating heavy machinery" or power tools, even simple ones used in gardening.

Critical thinking challenge: Why was the landscaper injured by a nail instead of some other object?

Assigned 90 times


COMMENTS (236)
  • MaxMicheletti
    5/20/2015 - 06:52 p.m.

    This article is about a man who survived a nail in his eye. He accidentally got it in his eye when he was using a weed whacker. It nearly missed his brain and slightly push the eye out of the way. Doctors found out that it was resting in between two arteries. The doctors were afraid that if they pulled it out it would start bleeding heavily. But they got it out and the man survived the ordeal. Wow! This is very interesting. That sounds really painful to have a nail in your eye!

  • John0724-YYCA
    5/20/2015 - 07:08 p.m.

    That would have hurt a lot because a three inch nail pierced through that guy's eye and that would have been really painful for I could understand when it pierced through the skin but on the eye is the last thing on my list of where to get hit with a nail. But it is also unbelievable that the man survived that because I know that the doctors fixed it but he should have been dead because when I saw the x-ray picture it went inside his eye really deep and he should ave been dead when it first went through him. Critical thinking challenge: Why was the landscaper injured by a nail instead of some other object? Answer: The landscaper got injured by a nail instead of other objects are because the Weed Wacker hit a nail but not other objects except for weeds.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    5/20/2015 - 08:17 p.m.

    I think that it is disgusting for a nail to get into the landscaper's eye, but I'm glad that the landscaper is still alive, but it might be close to the brain which is going to be even more disgusting if the nail had ended up stuck to the brain of the landscaper. Well if the landscaper had survived the nail that pierced through his eye, I think that landscaper should be more careful while he is outside landscaping.

  • Matthew11101110
    5/20/2015 - 09:02 p.m.

    Wow, talk about divine intervention. It's a miracle that he's still alive. I'm glad the surgeons could successfully take the nail out without internal bleeding. And it's amazing that his vision is back to normal after a really short period of time. This guy should buy a lottery ticket, he's so lucky.

  • 5ValerieS
    5/20/2015 - 09:10 p.m.

    Two years ago a 27-year-old landscaper was working in the fields when a Weed-whacker sent a 3 inch nail flying into his eye. When it was in his eye you couldn't tell how long the nail was. The nail did not stab him in the globe of his eye. But the nail was in between main arteries. The doctors then made an elaborate plan to get the nail out. After the nail was out the man came back eight weeks later and had regained vision in both eyes.

  • paigeb-Koc
    5/20/2015 - 10:35 p.m.

    That's so crazy how the nail was through his eye, skull, and brain like that. What is even crazier to me, though, is the fact that he just recovered like it was nothing. As if he had fallen off his bike and scraped his knee, and once he healed it was all back to normal. Quite a miracle.

  • Alyssa Van Dusen
    5/20/2015 - 11:42 p.m.

    While a man was weed wacking one day he got a three-inch nail inpaled into is eye ball. Doctors removed the nail from the twenty-seven year old's eyeball in Boston. The nail was very long reaching from the end of his eyeball to the tip of his brain almost. The young gardener was very lucky with an almost to full recovery with vision in both eyes. This article was very interesting to read and learn of the extrodinary doctors out there today.

  • Alyssa Van Dusen
    5/20/2015 - 11:44 p.m.

    While a man was weed wacking one day he got a three-inch nail inpaled into is eye ball. Doctors removed the nail from the twenty-seven year old's eyeball in Boston. The nail was very long reaching from the end of his eyeball to the tip of his brain almost. The young gardener was very lucky with an almost to full recovery with vision in both eyes. This article was very interesting to read and learn of the extrodinary doctors out there today.

  • ConnerC-Kut
    5/21/2015 - 07:37 a.m.

    I am betting if that nail went in one millimeter in more, instead of getting serious damage, he maybe could've died. But that man is way lucky though, to not have a nail in his actual brain. It was certainly was a good thing that the doctors were able to pull that nail out. It probably hurt for the guy though, especially when he got the tetanus shot.

    • autumn-Gon
      5/21/2015 - 11:41 a.m.

      poor man I feel so bad for him hope he feels better doctor had to see that sorry for the man and I'm interested in stuff like this

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