Fishing accident nearly robs child of sight

Colton’s story

In the middle of a hot Michigan summer, Colton Thompson and his brothers set off for the pond on the family’s property. Colton’s brother had saved up money for a shiny new fishing lure, and it was time to test it out.

Along the water’s edge Colton knelt down to tie his shoe, just as his brother drew back the fishing rod. With the flick of a wrist the lure caught Colton in his left eye, ripping straight through the middle.

Colton’s parents, Katelyn and Jacob, responded right away, knowing they had to rush him to the hospital from their home in the country.

“I think we were more scared than Colton,” Katelyn said. “We tried to stay calm and downplay it as much as possible so he didn’t panic.”

The medical staff didn’t know how much damage the hook had caused once they reached the hospital, but the family received good news on the first day. Rather than digging deep into the eye, the lure was embedded in Colton’s eyelid. It was possible the eye would heal on its own following emergency surgery to remove the lure.

Colton went home with a pair of prescription glasses, and his sutures were taken out a few weeks later.

“We just assumed we were on our way to getting out of it,” Katelyn said.

But Colton’s vision regressed as a significant scar formed and grew in density. He started squinting because of light sensitivity, and he eventually kept his left eye closed all the time because he had virtually no vision.

Colton’s accident, while scary, is actually not all that rare. According to the US Eye Injury Registry, eye injuries are second only to cataracts as the most common cause of visual impairment. Workplace eye injuries cost an estimated $300 million a year in lost productivity, medical treatment and worker compensation.

Colton didn’t have to worry about missing work, but there was a real concern he’d permanently lose vision in his left eye. That’s why Eversight has skilled clinical staff available around the clock to prepare and deliver tissue to surgeons for their patients.

Thanks to a generous donor, Colton received a sight-restoring cornea transplant using tissue provided by Eversight. Today, he isn’t scared to do any of the things he loves, like swimming and riding four-wheelers with his cousins or playing quarterback with his brothers during football.

And Colton thinks it’s pretty special someone was kind enough to donate their cornea for him. In fact, he decided to write a letter to the donor family.

“Thank you for donating a cornea for helping people see. I could not see because my brother cast a fish hook in my eye but now I can see better. I’m just saying thank you.

“Can you tell me how old that cornea is? What was the person like who donated it and what has he/she seen?”

Katelyn added an extra note at the bottom, something from the entire family.

“Thank you so much for your family’s generous gift. Our son’s future is so much brighter because of his restored vision!”

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You can help people like Colton receive the gift of sight by making a charitable contribution.