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Mark Boucher arrives at Cape town International Airport after ending his career due to an eye injury. Picture: Leon Lestrade

When the bail that ended Mark Boucher’s international cricketing career hit him in the eye, it caused significant damage to his eyeball, the full extent of which still needs to be determined.

On Monday, Boucher was standing behind the stumps, wearing only a peak cap on his head, when Imran Tahir bowled during a warm-up game against Somerset. The ball hit the stumps, dislodging the bail, which then flew up and into Boucher’s eye.

Team manager and medical doctor Mohammed Moosajee said the bail’s movement had been “accelerated by the direction of the ball”.

Moosajee said there had been damage to the sclera, or white of the eye, with a “significant tear”.

He went on to explain that if the eyeball were viewed like a clock, the tear was positioned from about six o’clock to seven o’clock.

However, head of Cricket South Africa’s medical committee, Dr Shuaib Manjra, who accompanied Boucher to see an eye specialist on Thursday, said that while they were still unable to determine exactly what had been damaged, there was damage to “more than just the white”.

He said damage could have been done to the “mechanical structures” such as the cornea, the lens, the globe or, critically, the retina. The retina is a layer of light-sensitive tissue near the back of the eye onto which light from the environment is focused by the lens. The retina then converts this into a signal that is carried via the optic nerve into the brain.

Manjra said that while the damage was serious, there were positive signs.

The surgery Boucher underwent on Tuesday to repair the punctured globe had gone well and the eye was healing well. There was no sign of infection.

“We know there is some vision because he could see hand movements and light,” Manjra said.

“We will be doing more investigations over the course of the next week, including a non-invasive sonar scan to figure out the exact damage of the impact,” he said. – Saturday Star


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