The following article was written and published by The American Academy of Ophthalmology
Sight-Threatening Injury Turns Teenager into Sports Eye Safety Advocate
When 15-year-old Angellia Lilomaiava got poked in the eye as she went up for a two-foot shot during a basketball tournament, she fell to the court in excruciating pain. But as she made her way back to the bench, she had no idea she just sustained an NBA-level injury that would threaten her vision and take her out of the game she loved for nearly four months.
“The pain was so bad that all I could do was lie on the court,” said Angellia, who plays for Aragon High School in San Mateo, Calif. “But even in that moment, it never occurred to me how long I’d be out. I was not thinking surgery. I thought I would be out for just a few days.”
At first, the emergency room physicians seemed to confirm her assumption. She was prescribed eyedrops to prevent infection and told to call her pediatrician on Monday for a referral. But a couple of days later Angellia started to see flashing lights before her eyes. This time, when her ophthalmologist, Rahul N. Khurana, MD, looked into her eyes, he knew he had to act fast. Angellia’s retina had detached from the back of her eye.