World Snooker Championship: Judd Trump performs terrific shot
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The former world number one, who secured his advantage over McGill, has faced immense struggle in the past. Back in 2019, the player, who is known to fans as “The Juddernaut” reflected on a period where he was almost playing blind, after his eyesight was badly affected by chlorine. After waiting multiple years before seeking help for the problem, Trump suffered through wearing contact lenses, which majorly affected his career.
Talking about his “dreadful” ordeal, Trump said: “My eyesight had always been good but at school I went swimming one day and the chlorine affected me badly.
“I was almost blinded for two weeks and from there things deteriorated. Then at the World Championship in 2007 I realised I couldn’t see the back of the pocket. It was one big blur. My first two seasons as a pro it was dreadful.”
Worried that seeking laser eye surgery would end his dreams of a snooker career for good, Trump opted for other means – wearing contact lenses – instead, with little success.
“I just couldn’t wear them for long periods – my eyes were drying up,” he continued to say. “We had events with four matches in a day and I could hardly see by the end.
“It felt like my lenses were going to fall out and I virtually had to give games away. I played on almost blind, at about 10 percent of my vision.
“The lenses were always irritating – I was rubbing my eyes all the time. It’s horrible when you’re playing for your livelihood.
“I was going up against players ranked way below me, knowing I couldn’t win. The problem was often worse in high humidity at the Asian tournaments.”
Having tried to keep the invisible health problem a secret, Trump revealed that fans were criticising him on social media, commenting on his appearance and blaming it on his party lifestyle and “going out too much”.
Reflecting on the time as “demoralising,” Trump had no choice but to seek help from professionals, and finally get long-lasting treatment.
Speaking about his initial thoughts of laser eye surgery, Trump added: “Just the idea of laser eye surgery was huge. I was a young man with hopefully my best years ahead of me in a sport where eyesight is everything.
“There is a risk in any operation and this was my eyes. The thought at that time of having surgery on them was horrible. It felt like a massive gamble.
“I put it off. You are scared, thinking what if it goes wrong? You could be blind and it could not only end snooker but affect everything. The final straw was at the World Championship in May 2017, playing two sessions in a day. I was tired, my eyes felt gritty and horrible.”
Laser eye surgery, or refractive surgery aims to improve eyesight and allow individuals to become less dependent on glasses or contact lenses.
The NHS explains that the procedure involves using lasers to reshape the front surface (cornea) of the eyes so they can focus better. It can correct short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism.
In Trump’s case, damage to his eyes was caused by chlorine, something that Optimax, a group of eye surgeons, warns individuals about. They explain that chlorine can have long-term effects on the eyes.
This mainly involves the chemical “stripping away the tear film on the eye,” which usually acts as a protective barrier from dirt and germs. Due to this, the most common eye-related problems caused by chlorinated water include:
- Conjunctivitis – This infection can either be bacterial or viral and thrives in water. It causes irritated, itchy eyes, severe redness and crusting.
- Red eyes – Chlorine dehydrates your eyes and, as mentioned above, removes the tear film. This results in blurriness and occasionally distorted vision, but it’s usually only temporary. The redness occurs when the blood vessels near the surface of your eye become larger and then dilate.
- Acanthamoebic keratitis (AK) – An amoeba is a single cell organism which either lives in water or as a parasite, meaning that swimming pools are an ideal spot for them to spread. If you swim with contact lenses in, you’re at risk of catching acanthamoeba keratitis, as the bacteria can become trapped between your cornea and contact lens. This can lead to corneal ulcers, permanently damaging your vision and causing severe infection. In the worst cases, patients even need corneal transplants to help restore their vision.
Although Trump gave no official diagnosis, it is plausible that he was suffering from AK. Moorfield Eye Hospital explains that the condition is extremely painful and causes the “clear window at the front of the eye” to become infected.
In the early stages, AK and other microbial corneal infections have similar signs and symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose individuals. Diagnosis can also change depending on how the eye or eyes respond to treatment.
Treating AK usually involves antiseptic drops, which have an anti-amoebic effect. These drops will need to be taken every hour for the first few days, getting less frequent as the treatment progresses. In addition to the anti-amoebic eye drops, you may be given anti-inflammatories or painkillers to help with the pain.
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