Londoners’ experiences of life-changing injuries


Age at interview: 27

Brief outline: Seven years ago, Juri was hit in the face with a glass bottle outside a night club. As a result the vision in his right eye is impaired.

Background: Juri works as a support worker with disabled people. He is single and lives with flatmates. His ethnic background is White Italian.

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Juri moved to London from Italy eight years ago, one year before his injury. Outside a night club one evening he became involved in a fight to defend a friend. During the fight he was attacked and a bottle was smashed in his face, cutting his eye. He immediately worried whether he was going to be able to see again. He was rushed to hospital and had an operation within the next few days. 
When his friends came to visit him at hospital he reassured them that he was going to be ok, saying, “I’ve still got the other eye”, but described how on the inside he was upset about how he looked. One of his biggest concerns was that he would lose his eye and have to use a glass eye. This was not the case.
Later that week, he had a second operation to implant a contact lens in his eye. He described how this affected his vision, saying it was like being “in a car in the morning when there is a lot of condensation on the windows”. Adjusting to the contact lens took some time. Juri said it felt strange especially when closing the eyelid.
When he was back home after a week in hospital, Juri became unwell. He developed a temperature that he described as “the highest fever I have ever had in my life”. He thinks this might have been his body’s reaction to having the lens implanted in his eye. His best friend nursed him back to health again. 
Juri attended some further appointments to assess his vision. He was given a hard contact lens to wear. It improved his sight, but wearing it was too uncomfortable so he decided to not to after trying it several times. 
Since his injury, Juri rarely ever gets upset about “silly things”. However, the appearance of his eye bothers him and he would like to change it back to the way it was before his injury. He thinks eyes are important “because they express so much. They express everything you want the other person to understand”. He does not like telling people how his injury was caused because he thinks it makes him “look like a bad guy”. 



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