A man was left with a rusty nail sticking out of his forehead in a freak gardening accident.
The unidentified 58-year-old was mowing the lawn when the inch-long piece of metal flicked up at his face.
It missed his left eyeball by millimetres but still penetrated muscles in his eyelid, leaving him unable to open his eye.
He was rushed to hospital in Verona, northern Italy, with the wound, which the medics described as a lockdown injury.
After several scans, doctors removed the nail by gently twisting it until it fell out. The man’s eyesight was back to normal within 30 days.
Experts said he was very lucky not to go blind or lose his eye because of the accident.
The un-named man got the nail wedged above his eye while he was mowing the lawn in Verona, northern Italy, during the first lockdown. He was rushed to hospital for treatment
Doctors gently twisted the rusty nail left and right to free it. The wound had also caused the man’s eyelid to slam shut
Once removed from the man’s head, it emerged the nail was about an inch long
A 3D scan of the man’s skull showing where the nail was positioned in his head before it was removed. But hospital figures show there were fewer domestic accidents during lockdown
FATALITIES AMONG YOUNG MEN FALL DURING LOCKDOWN
Deaths among young men fell during Britain’s first lockdown, a study has suggested.
Cambridge University statisticians found there were 85 deaths in 20-to-24-year-old males from March to May last year.
This was a 30 per cent drop from the 121 fatalities expected in this group over the same period.
As many as 12 of the deaths reported were due to Covid. If these were removed from the analysis, it means deaths dipped by 40 per cent.
After the study was published last year, eminent statistician Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter said: ‘Young men are significantly less likely to die over the pandemic.
‘We normally expect a blip or a hump for young men aged 20 to 24 which is due to essentially risk-taking behaviour.
‘(But) that has disappeared completely during lockdown.’
In the case report the doctors linked his injury to spending more time at home.
‘The Covid pandemic has been influencing our life in a way never seen before, with people needing to remain at home due to lockdown restrictions,’ they wrote.
‘In this scenario we are seeing an increase in the percentage of (facial injuries).’
The case was published by Dr Riccardo Nocini in the International Journal of Surgery Case Reports.
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists scientific chair, Andrew Lotery, told MailOnline the man was ‘extremely lucky’ not to have suffered any irreparable damage to his vision.
‘In this case, had the injury occurred in or close to the proximity of the soft tissues of the eye, it could have caused irreparable damage,’ he said.
‘The patient was extremely lucky.’
He added: ‘Injuries caused by typical DIY activities can be life altering and we encourage the general public to take precautions and wear protective goggles when hammering, for example.
‘Trauma to eyes can mean a small or complete loss of eyesight.’
Specsaver’s director of professional advancement, Paul Morris, said the man was lucky not to lose his eyeball.
‘If the nail had landed a few millimetres in a different direction the damage to the eye could have been much worse or he could have lost his eye,’ he told MailOnline.
‘It’s important that anyone carrying out an activity where something could go into the eye, such as gardening or DIY, pays close attention to what they’re doing and wears a suitable eye protection such as safety glasses.’
Verona hospital figures showed there were fewer domestic accidents than normal during lockdown, despite everyone being ordered to stay at home.
Italy – like the UK – endured tough lockdown curbs from late February, with residents banned from travelling or leaving their home except for to collect groceries.
A top surgeon at Imperial College hospitals in London, Shehan Hettiaratchy, said they had also seen a dip in admissions for accidents during Britain’s shutdowns.
‘During the first lockdown period there was a significant reduction in domestic accident injuries,’ he told MailOnline.
‘But as we started to unlock we saw an increase compared to the baseline (average number of accidents expected).
‘I suspect we had fewer accidents during lockdown because of paranoia (fear over visiting hospitals), but with the unlocking it was like taking the lid off a pressure cooker.’
He added the hospital had prepared for a ‘New Year’s Eve’ level of admission for when pubs and restaurants reopen.
Some British organisations have, however, reported a rise in injuries linked to pulling muscles over lockdown.
The British Chiropractic Association said it had seen a 660 per cent spike in searches on its website up to June last year, which it linked to a spike in injuries due to ‘Joe Wicks-ed’ activities.
They have remained at least a quarter above normal levels since then, with visits particularly directed to pages on neck pain, back pain and Covid information.
Chiropractor and BCA member Ulrik Sandstrom told MailOnline: ‘Home exercise and physical activity has played an important and positive role in many people’s lives during lockdown.
Above is a scan showing the nail (white) and the skull (the light grey area). Britain’s hospitals also saw a dip in accidents at home over lockdown, experts said
Above is a scan of the man’s skull after the nail was successfully removed. His vision returned to normal within 30 days
‘However, we have seen a rise in patients with home exercise-related injuries across the UK, mostly from doing too much too soon after too little for too long.
‘Most of these patients are experiencing lower back pain and some neck and shoulder pain.
‘The good news is that just a few small changes can make a big difference to your home exercise routines, and prevent any unnecessary aches and pains from getting between you and your goals.
‘My top tip is to ease yourself into things gradually and build up in manageable, bitesize chunks.’