Learn more: Today Show anchor experiences eye injury

  • Posted on: Dec 2 2019
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today eye

If you are a regular viewer of NBC’s The Today Show, you might have noticed anchor Savannah Guthrie absent from the newscast recently. You might have also seen her return in time for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade wearing glasses.

Guthrie suffered a serious eye injury from her little boy throwing a toy rain and hitting her in the eye. The freak accident led to temporary vision loss.

The Today Show anchor explained to her co-anchors, “It happened last week [week before Thanksgiving], actually, and then I lost my vision in my right eye about 24 hours later. It turned out to be kind of serious. They were afraid my retina would detach. They told me to just take it easy and they’ve been doing a bunch of laser procedures trying to avoid having to do the whole surgery… [The toy train] has a really pointy edge and he threw it right at me.”

NBC News’ medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar discussed her injury further.

“Right now her vision loss is really apparently just from this vitreous hemorrhage, not hopefully from any detachment … so hopefully that blood will resorb and she will regain full vision,” Azar said.

So what is a vitreous hemorrhage? Our own Dr. Taustine explains.

The central core of the eye is a cavity filled with a very clear, jelly like substance called vitreous. As we age a few dark opacities may float before our vision. These are usually benign vitreous opacities.

A vitreous hemorrhage occurs when blood enters the vitreous. Just as you cannot see through a drop of blood, a vitreous hemorrhage can completely block vision. There are various reasons bleeding can occur in the vitreous. Sometimes it occurs spontaneously in conditions such as diabetic retinopathy. Other times a tear in a retinal blood vessel can release blood into the vitreous. The retina is the lining layer in the back of the eye. It is our light detector.

Blood in the vitreous usually resolves. The issue is what caused the bleeding in the first place. If there is a history of trauma, the possibility exists that not only is a retinal blood vessel torn but so is the retina. This can lead to a serious problem known as retinal detachment. If the bleeding is mild a good look at the retina is possible and any tears can be treated. Sometimes if the bleeding is dense an ultrasound examination may help decide if the retina is intact. When a retina detachment is suspected an operation known as a vitrectomy can remove the blood allowing a good inspection of the retina. If needed the retina can be repaired at the same time.

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