Rugby league legend Wally Lewis has battled through broken arms, and fractured legs and cheekbones, but it was a bout of corneal erosion and dry eye disease that almost brought the Queenslander to his knees.
Now, the Maroons great-turned-9News sports presenter has urged Australians to prioritise their eye health after he was treated by Dr John Hogden from leading Brisbane clinic The Eye Health Centre.
In an interview with his 9News colleagues, ’The King’ said he endured four to five days of irritated eyes, which he put down to excessive eye rubbing, as well as blurred vision that he thought was a migraine.
Soon a headache behind his left eye intensified, prompting him to seek out the expertise of an eyecare professional.
“My pain level had reached something that I had never experienced,” he said.
“I’ve had broken arms, I’ve fractured bones in my legs, fractured my cheekbones but none of that came into the same ballpark as what the pain was like in the eye. The greatest fear for me was that I was losing part of my sight.”
Hogden diagnosed Lewis with corneal erosion, as well as dry eye.
“Wally rang with severe symptoms of pain and loss of vision suggestive of a possible sight-threatening condition – either angle closure glaucoma or significant corneal disease. Hence, he was seen immediately. Eye issues often require prompt review,” Hogden said.
“Corneal erosions are very painful and can proceed to more sight-threatening problems if not treated adequately. His case highlights us to all the importance of eyecare and preventative eyecare.”
Hogden said Lewis first presented to an optometrist, who referred him to The Eye Health Centre.
“His optometrist did a wonderful job getting him to the right specialist. Optometrists are critical to providing care to patients in the community,” he said.
“The important collaborative relationship The Eye Health Centre has with community optometrists is very important for the community, our patients and both professions.”