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The Eyes Have It
By J. Everett Moore Jr.
With the average age of hunters being in the mid-40s, many of us are at the point in our lives when it pays to be aware of potential medical complications that can begin to creep in during midlife.
Most everyone knows of the increased risk of heart disease, colon or breast cancer or even stroke. Other than purchasing a cheap set of reading glasses, few of us think about our eyes.
Prior to my retinal detachment, the only example I was aware of was boxer Sugar Ray Leonard. I assumed it came from trauma to the head or eyes. That is not the case, however, and hunters need to be aware of this potentially sight-stealing condition.
On Dec. 22, 2010, I had 20/20 vision in both eyes. On Dec. 23, I suffered a detached retina in my right eye, which necessitated emergency surgery. Three months later, I suffered a detached retina in my left eye - my dominant eye - which led to multiple surgeries and ultimately total blindness in my left eye.
The doctors explained that, as we age, the jelly filling our eyes shrinks and detaches from the retina. As Dr. John Butler of the Retina Consultants of Delmarva explained, "Sometimes this natural separation can tear the retina and cause the detachment."
Even if the detachment does not occur immediately, the retina can detach over time as a result of the initial injury. He explained that the retina is like wallpaper on a plastered wall. If it is torn, fluid can flow under it and separate it from the wall of the eye. Also, people who have had eye surgeries, like those for cataracts, are at an increased risk.
The symptoms of retinal detachment include seeing flashes of light, new floaters or spots, or loss of any portion of your peripheral or side vision. If you have any of these symptoms, see an eye doctor immediately. Early treatment can either prevent a retinal detachment or increase the likelihood of a successful reattachment surgery.
As hunters, we depend on our eyesight more than any other sense. Take care of your eyes and take it seriously if you experience any unusual symptoms with your vision.
J. Everett Moore Jr. is an avid sportsman who has not let his blindness in his dominant eye prevent him from hunting. Since relearning to shoot right-handed, he has taken a 155-inch buck with a crossbow, and a bull elk scoring 368 1/8 with a muzzleloader.
He was the founder and 10-year president of Buckmasters of Delaware and recently wrote a much heralded book, "Growin' Up Country: Rural Life in the 1950s and 1960s."
The book describes all aspects of life in that era.
Because of his experiences and long-term connection to Buckmasters, Moore is donating a portion of the proceeds of his book through this promotion to the American Deer Foundation, Disabled Hunter Services.
Go to www.growinupcountry.com to buy the book and T-shirts. When purchasing, please note that you want to donate a portion of the proceeds to BADF.