Michael Delaney wants people to know how quickly life can change. One minute, he was playing in a church softball game with a group of 40-year-old guys. The next minute, his life changed dramatically when he was hit in the eye by a ball.
“The ball hit the ground right in front of me, took an odd bounce, and hit my eye,” he recalled. A couple of days later he started seeing flashes of light, went to his doctor, and was in surgery at Georgia Retina the next morning.
“They would have operated that day, but I had just eaten lunch so they had to wait until the morning.”
Delaney, a patient of Dr. Stephanie Vanderveldt at Georgia Retina, had to undergo several surgeries to stabilize his vision. Not only was the retina in his right eye detached, there was a “giant retinal tear with the detachment,” he said.
Now, Delaney is an advocate for protective eye wear, speaking out whenever he can to encourage everyone to protect their eyes during sports activities. Delaney, a real estate agent in Duluth, has even attempted to set up a franchise to sell eye gear locally, but found few people willing to spend the $100 or so for protective eyewear.
“They think it won’t happen to them, but I’m proof that it can happen to anyone, anytime. It can happen when you least expect it,” he said.
After his accident, Delaney was unable to work for months. Following the initial surgery, he missed work for three months. Later, a cataract developed in his injured eye and he had to have a second surgery, requiring even more time away from his job.
Now, three years after his injury, Delaney says he still has limited vision in his injured eye and worries about taking part in activities that might injure his other eye.
Most importantly, however, he wants to save others from eye injuries by telling his story and encouraging everyone to wear protective eye wear.