A Dalby teen says he felt little pain when a foot of metal wire pierced his eye in a workplace accident earlier this month.

Bryce Barfield, 18, had been adjusting a feed bunk cable at a property near Condamine when a thin piece of wire snapped and lodged in his eye.

“It was pretty full on,” Mr Barfield said.

“There was no pain when it went in, it just felt like it had irritated my eye.

“It was about a foot of wire, so I pulled it out myself.”

Retinal surgeon Dr Andrew McAllister of Toowoomba Retina and Eye Specialists talks to patient Bryce Barfield about his recovery following a workplace injury. Picture: Kevin Farmer
Retinal surgeon Dr Andrew McAllister of Toowoomba Retina and Eye Specialists talks to patient Bryce Barfield about his recovery following a workplace injury. Picture: Kevin Farmer

After receiving first aid, he returned home and went to bed, unaware the wire had pierced through his lens and retina.

“When I woke up, I had no vision in that eye,” Mr Barfield said.

“At that point I had an off-duty worker take me to Miles, and they told me to go see Dr Andrew.”

An experienced retinal surgeon at St Andrew’s Hospital Toowoomba, Dr Andrew McAllister recognised the severity of Mr Barfield’s injury immediately.

“His eye was grossly infected, and he had a penetrating eye injury,” Dr McAllister said.

“All he could see was light in that eye – another day later he would have been completely blind in that eye.”

Retinal surgeon Dr Andrew McAllister of Toowoomba Retina and Eye Specialists examines patient Bryce Barfield’s eye. Picture: Kevin Farmer
Retinal surgeon Dr Andrew McAllister of Toowoomba Retina and Eye Specialists examines patient Bryce Barfield’s eye. Picture: Kevin Farmer

Over the next few days, Mr Barfield became the first patient in the city to successfully undergo a complex set of procedures at the hospital.

“Twice we took him to theatre to inject antibiotics into his eye and then in the third operation we took out the lens and cleaned his eye of pus,” Dr McAllister said.

“There were also large retinal lacerations, which I treated with a laser, and then we filled his eye up with oil.”

Dr McAllister said the future now looked bright for the teen, who was eager to get back to work.

“In three to six months we will take the oil out and look at putting a new lens in his eye,” Dr McAllister.

Medical images Bryce Barfield’s injury. Picture: Kevin Farmer
Medical images Bryce Barfield’s injury. Picture: Kevin Farmer

“I’m hopeful his vision will almost be back to normal at that point.

“Before I came to Toowoomba last year, a patient like Bryce would have had to go to Brisbane for treatment.

“It’s lucky for him he was insured with work cover and we could do the procedures straight away.”

Mr Barfield thanked Dr McAllister and the staff for their help.

“The service at St Andrew’s has been five star,” he said.

“It was great not having to go to Brisbane – if I had, my parents wouldn’t have been able to come.”


Originally published as City surgeon saves teen’s sight after metal wire pulled from eye


Four months in custody declared enough for meth supplier

Premium Content Four months in custody declared enough for meth supplier

He faced 22 counts of supplying a dangerous drug

EXPLAINED: Everything you can do now restrictions have eased

Premium Content EXPLAINED: Everything you can do now restrictions have eased

Everything you can do now COVID-19 restrictions have eased

Statewide audit after fears nurses let down by masks

Premium Content Statewide audit after fears nurses let down by masks

Statewide audit recommended into fit testing of Qld nurses’ masks