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February 01, 2013 | SOI General: Headquarters

Avoiding Blindness, Thanks to Healthy Athletes (and the Rain)

By Karl Hejlik

During an eye exam, Snowboarder Ludovic Jaques discovered he had dangerously high eye pressure.

Abnormally high eye pressure can lead to permanent blindness if left untreated, and it usually has no symptoms, so an athlete doesn’t know they are at risk. That is exactly what happed to Snowboarder Ludovic Jaques from Switzerland. Fate may have stepped in on Friday, however, at the World Winter Games when rain cancelled snow sports and allowed time for Ludovic’s team to come to Healthy Athletes. Screeners in the Opening Eyes area discovered his dangerous high pressure (50 in both eyes; normal is 20). He was immediately sent to a local doctor and was able to get drops to help control his condition. But that isn’t the only thing volunteers found in Opening Eyes. Unlike other athletes who leave Opening Eyes with new glasses to help their vision, Ludovic found out he may not need the glasses he currently owns. He wears glasses occasionally for reading, but his exam should no need for them. Most likely, the high pressure in his eyes was misinterpreted back home.

About Karl Hejlik: Senior Manager, Health and Research Communications.

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