Cadhan Brown has always loved baseball. He is considered one of the top young prospects in all of San Diego County. As a thirteen year old, he pitches up to 75 mph as well as playing 1st and 3rd base. He is the starting pitcher for the Encinitas Little League All Stars. In 2011 and 2012, he led the Encinitas Little League in home runs and was the Home Run Derby Winner in 2012. Despite the hours he spends each day practicing, Cadhan carries a 4.0 GPA, and was named Encinitas Chamber of Commerce Student of the year. Even more amazing, is that Cadhan is a type I diabetic and manages to compete at such an elite level in his sport.
Despite playing multiple positions, Cadhan’s love is pitching and dreams of one day pitching in the major leagues. All of this came to a sudden halt in early 2013. In less than a second, the average time it takes a baseball to reach the pitcher’s mound after the batter strikes the ball, Cadhan was struck in the eye socket by a line drive. Worried about their child, loss of his budding baseball career and worse yet maybe even blindness, Cadhan’s parents searched for a place they could get help. Hours from home they came down the freeway and started making phone calls. He was rushed to see David B. Granet, M.D., Director of the Ratner Children’s Eye Center at the Shiley Eye Center. Hearts pounding the family was relieved that his eye was ok after Dr. Granet’s examination. However, a CT scan showed the baseball had shattered the majority of the bones in Cadhan’s eye socket (orbit). The fracture also involved the upper wall of the orbit with a bone fragment just millimeters away from entering Cadhan’s brain. To compound matters, the injury was causing restricted eye movements and left him with double vision.
Dr. Granet immediately brought Cadhan over to the adjacent Shiley Eye Center to see Bobby Korn, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology in the Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Division. Dr. Korn reviewed Cadhan’s CT scans. Their stomachs ached when Dr. Korn talked about Cadhan’s shattered orbit. Would he ever be normal again? Could he drive? Go to school? Ever play baseball? Calmly Dr. Korn discussed all of the options. Almost certainly they included bone work to piece together the orbit and likely eye muscle surgery. In the operating room, Dr. Korn meticulously realigned all the bone fragments and covered each of the fractures with implants and screws while protecting his brain and sinuses. In the end, he was able to piece together this complex orbital jigsaw puzzle and return the eye to full movement.
Initially, Cadhan had significant edema at the surgery site and still had double vision. But with each passing day, his swelling started to resolve and his eye movements continued to improve. Amazingly, eye muscle surgery to get rid of double vision was not needed and Cadhan’s eye healed beautifully. At two months out, Drs. Korn and Granet gave Cadhan the clearance to start baseball practice again and he hasn’t looked back since! “We are eternally grateful of the care given to Cadhan by Dr. Korn and Dr. Granet,” said his parents.
This accident brings awareness to the importance of using protective eye gear by children and adults as standard equipment for a variety of sports activities. According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), most sports-related eye injuries can be avoided with the use of protective eyewear such as safety glasses and goggles, safety shields, and eye guards for a particular sport. Ordinary prescription glasses, contact lenses and sunglasses do not protect against eye injuries. Safety goggles should be worn over them.
At the Shiley Eye Center, ophthalmic subspecialists are all housed in one complex. “The beauty of this place is that we have world-class eye doctors right next to each other. Our patients receive the benefit of a team of multiple ophthalmic specialists putting their heads – and hands – together,” said Dr. Granet. “That teamwork, on the field or in medicine, produces the best results” continued Granet. Collaboration amongst physicians in all of the ophthalmic divisions is a hallmark of the Shiley Eye Center and enables our patients to receive the highest level of care.
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