• Boy’s Vision Saved After Coat Hook Punctures Eye

    Wide image of Jackson, who was nearly blinded by an accident with a coat hook, posing with a silly facial expression.
    Jackson was nearly blinded in one eye after a fall onto a coat hook severed a muscle in his eye.

    Devastating Mishap Causes Eye Injury

    Outgoing, boisterous, and always on the move, Jackson Allen is a 5-year-old with a sunny disposition who loves making people laugh. One afternoon, an unimaginable accident nearly cost Jackson his sight, which could have changed the course of his life forever.

    On what should have been a routine walk down the stairs two years ago, Jackson tripped on the bottom step in his home, falling onto a coat rack. A hanger hook in just the wrong position punctured the right corner of his eye severing a muscle and narrowly missing his brain.

    Jenna Allen, Jackson’s mother, immediately rushed him to the nearest trauma center. The surgeons there operated quickly, but could not re-attach Jackson’s lateral rectus, one of the six muscles responsible for keeping the eye in line.

    "I was numb," said Jenna. "Completely terrified that Jackson was going to lose his eye.”

    Accident Leads to Lazy Eye, Damaged Vision

    Months later the family moved to Texas. Jackson’s grandmother knew of pediatric ophthalmologist Jane Edmond, MD, and made the referral for further care and treatment. Upon initial evaluation Jackson's eye had an unsightly red scar and was crossed inward toward the nose, unable to rotate outward. Jackson's eye was so red and crossed that the brain no longer depended on it for vision, causing his vision to deteriorate to 20/200 – ten times worse than normal 20/20 vision.

    Jackson was diagnosed with amblyopia, more commonly known as lazy eye. Amblyopia occurs when one eye is out of alignment and two images are sent to the brain, which makes the eye cross. When this happens, the lazy eye “turns off" to avoid double vision, leaving a person to use the most dominant eye to see. He was also diagnosed with esotropia which is a form of strabismus –  in which the eyes are not aligned properly and point in different directions.

    “Having only dealt with a few cases like this in practice, I considered Jackson's accident rare,” said Dr. Edmond. “If the coat hook had gone in differently it could have hit his brain or damaged the eyeball resulting in permanent blindness.”

     

    Jackson with a plastic bag in his hand

    Jackson’s initial treatment began with two-hour daily patching of the left eye to improve and strengthen the vision in his right eye. Dr. Edmond, like the previous surgeons, could not repair the severed eye muscle so she ended up having to perform a more complicated procedure.

    "She saved his vision and fixed his eye so he looks like other kids at school. It makes me so happy." – Jenna Allen

    First, she performed a surgery called a transposition, which used two of Jackson’s six muscles that control the eye to replace the severed muscle. She also removed scar tissue to alleviate some of the redness. Lastly, she weakened the medial rectus – or middle eye muscle – that had tightened due to Jackson’s misalignment.

    After Jackson’s eye recovered from this treatment, Dr. Edmond performed a second surgery to center the eye. This time, she also injected Botox into the middle eye muscle to make the eye rotate out instead of in.

    Vision Restored Following Surgery

    Two years after the accident, Dr. Edmond observed near perfect alignment. Jackson had normal vision in his right eye.

    "It was the most epic result I have ever seen from this type of devastating injury," said Dr. Edmond. "You’d never know the extent of the injury to his eye muscle. He has had a really incredible outcome."

    Jackson will continue to wear a patch for one hour a day until his sixth birthday. Like most kids his age, he gripes on occasion about having to wear the eye patch, but otherwise, doesn’t talk much about the injury.

    "It was the most epic result I have ever seen from this type of devastating injury." – Jane Edmond, MD

    “Dr. Edmond is wonderful,” said Jenna. “I cannot thank her enough for what she did for my son. “I was so worried about him not being able to see and being made fun of by other kids at school. She saved his vision and fixed his eye so he looks like other kids at school. It makes me so happy.”

    If not for the series of procedures he received from Dr. Edmond, life might be very different for Jackson. Now, his future is brighter than ever.