Forget being bored during self-isolation, imagine almost going BLIND?!

It seems cruel really. You’re doing the right thing by staying home and trying to stop the spread of the coronavirus, trying out new activities to keep busy, and you’re rewarded by very nearly losing your eye sight!

This is what happened to dear ol’ Dr Chris Brown! And he spoke with Kyle and Jackie O this morning to tell us exactly what happened.

It turns out, like most of us, Dr Chris Brown has been using his time at home to clean up around the place a bit. And so he decided to do a spot of gardening. Little did he know that this would be his downfall…

“You spend enough time staring at something, you all of a sudden believe that you can do it yourself,” Chris told us this morning.

“It was that case on Sunday afternoon, I was walking around the garden and I saw this bush that needed trimming. It had been a while.”

The plant itself was actually a two-metre high cactus that the Dr tried to trim, but little did he now that the inside of the cactus could actually be quite dangerous!


“I trimmed this big cactus thing and as I was trimming one of the stems, it sprayed it’s sap at me which wasn’t ideal, and got me in the right eye,” he continued to explain.

Chris explained that he thought it was no big deal, just a bit of sap, whatever. That is until about 30 seconds later when the burning started.

“Imagine having chilli in your eye, it was like that times ten and it started burning!” he told us.

“So I rang up the poisons and information centre and said, ‘Do you guys know what this plant is and whether I should do anything about it’ and straight away they just said, ‘You need to go to hospital right now because this is incredibly toxic and it can actually make you go blind’.”

How terrifying is that! Thankfully Dr Chris Brown managed to get help quickly and save his eye sight. He did sustain a pretty bad burn to his cornea though!

“They flushed my eye out for an hour and thankfully there’s not too much damage,” he told us. “I copped a bit of a corneal ulcer and corneal burn but all in all pretty lucky to get away with just that.”

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Just when you thought social distancing was the safe option 😳. Decided to take on a bit of gardening while in lockdown and pruned the ol’ Pencil Cactus (Euphorbia). Next minute, sprayed some sap into my eyes before discovering it’s highly toxic and can cause blindness. The nurses and doctors at Prince of Wales emergency were amazing and diagnosed a burn on my cornea. Possibly in a last desperate bid to make me feel better, they did assure me this was the second case of cactus induced conjunctivitis in the last 3 days. The lessons? 1. Stay in your lane people. 2. I’m a veterinary surgeon not a tree surgeon 3. And self-isolation DIY injuries are a growth industry. On a serious note, the emergency staff in hospitals have never been under more pressure or in more danger yet they’re still fronting up to help us. Help them by listening to the advice and self isolating. It might not save your life but it could save someone else’s. . I’m now off to kill a cactus. With protective eyewear.

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Well if ever we needed another reason to just stay on our couch watching Netflix instead of trying new things, that’s surely it…

Hear more from our chat with Dr Chris Brown in the podcast below!

Want more? Get more from Kyle & Jackie O!