Surgery saves man's sight after freak accident -

Surgery saves man's sight after freak accident

A warning - some viewers may find the images in this story graphic.

An Arizona man has "double vision" but will otherwise recover after impaling himself on pruning shears.

"It was excruciating. It was just . . . I can't tell you how much it hurt," said LeRoy Luetscher, 86.

He was working in his yard late in July when he fell as he carried a pair of pruning shears.

He fell face-down on the handle which penetrated his right eye socket and went down into his neck, coming to rest on the external carotid artery. Half the shears was left in his head, while the other half was sticking out.

"When I felt up there, I sort of pulled on it just a little bit and it seemed real solid so I just left it alone, and realized that it was the clipper," he said.

Arpy Williams, Luetscher's significant other, was shocked when she saw him.

"There was just blood all over, but anyway, I saw this instrument in his face and I just said, 'LeRoy, honey, what have you done?'" she recalled.

Luetscher was rushed to the hospital where surgeons removed the shears and rebuilt his orbital floor with metal mesh.

"This was pretty dramatic and you just didn't understand what you were looking at," said Dr. Lynn Polonski, an ocular plastic surgeon at University Medical Center. "What we found was it was in his neck. It was close to his carotid artery."

Luetscher's eyeball had been pushed up and back where doctors at first couldn't tell if was in one piece.

"Making a second incision underneath his gum line, opening up his sinus and we were able to visualize the handle and were able to loosen it up enough to where we could slide it out carefully," Polonski said.

Doctors said after the surgery, Luetscher had slight swelling in his eyelids and minor double vision - but he should retain the vision in both eyes.

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