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What caused Kirby Puckett to go blind?

Every Minnesotan remembers that an eye problem forced Kirby Puckett to retire in 1996, after 12 years with the Minnesota Twins. What everyone doesn’t know is that what happened to Kirby could happen to anyone. Kirby Puckett lost the vision in his right eye due to glaucoma at the age of 35.

Why didn’t he know about it sooner?

After he retired, Kirby was quoted as saying, “I’m a .318 career hitter, so why would I think I had a problem with my eyes?” Kirby was taking 5 physical examinations every year for the Twins organization, but glaucoma screening is not a part of regular medical physicals. In addition, glaucoma has no symptoms until most of the damage is already done. Once you lose vision from glaucoma, the damage is irreversible and you cannot regain any of that lost vision. Kirby’s vision was being slowly stolen from him, and he had no idea that anything was wrong.

Because of what happened to him, Kirby went on a nationwide crusade after his retirement. His mission was to inform as many people as possible about the dangers of glaucoma and the importance of thorough, complete eye exams. He once said, “I’m trying to make people aware that they need to get checked for glaucoma because I don’t want what happened to me to happen to them. The only way that can be avoided is for people to take the first step, the ultimate step, and that is to get checked.”

How do I get checked for glaucoma?

Everyone should be screened for the early signs of glaucoma at their annual comprehensive eye exam. If you have any factors that put you at risk for glaucoma, more detailed testing may need to be done. With the technology available today, glaucoma is diagnosed and treated very early in the disease, before you lose any vision. At the Vision Source Park Rapids & Walker Eye Clinics, we have the most state-of-the-art glaucoma testing and screening devices available anywhere. Schedule your appointment today!