A 40-year-old man with a reported history of alcoholism and drug addiction attacked his father last month, ripping out his eyeball after getting high on drugs, his family in Miaoli County said.
During the Lunar New Year holiday, the man’s friends enticed him to try a new type of recreational drug — a mix of amphetamines, ketamine and other chemical substances.
Affected by the drugs, the man, who also suffers from schizophrenia, became enraged and allegedly started smashing up furniture in the house.
His father tried to calm him down, but he turned on him and ripped out one of his father’s eyeballs, the family said.
Hearing the screams, family members rushed to the scene and saw the father holding his bloodied eyesocket. They called the police and rushed both to the hospital.
However, doctors were not able to save the eyeball, leaving the father blind in one eye and still in hospital.
The family said the son had been hanging out with the wrong crowd since he was young, taking amphetamines and drinking excessively.
They said he became emotionally unstable and later had schizophrenia and induced hallucinations.
Although the family has taken him to various medical centers for treatment, the man continued to use drugs and alcohol, they said.
Liu Ching-chih, an ophthalmologist at the Chimei Medical Center in Greater Tainan, said there is currently no medical technology that can reattach an eyeball.
Optic nerves, which measure between 1.5mm and 2mm in diameter, are located at the back of the eye socket and transmit signals to the brain.
To reconnect the optic nerves, the eyeball’s muscle tissues and ligaments would have to be reattached to fix the eyeball in place, he said.
“These are tiny nerve fibers, and we do not have the technology to perform this procedure,” Liu said.
In cases of eyeball dislocation, with the muscle tissues in the back getting torn in the back of the eye and no major damage to the optic nerves, doctors can set the eyeball back in place and restore a patient’s eyesight, Liu said.
He said it was very difficult to rip out an eyeball using one’s hand, because there are six major muscles around the eyeball and ligaments to fix it in place.
Only by grasping the eyeball with the fingers and pulling it out with great force can one do this, Liu said.
Ma Ta-yuan (馬大元), a psychiatrist at Tachien Hospital in Miaoli City, said people suffering from psychiatric disorders should avoid drugs and alcohol because they could worsen the effects of the illness.