Surgeons at University Medical Center saved the eye of a Green Valley man who fell on top of hand pruners, sending part of the handle through his eye socket and down his throat, officials said.

Leroy Luetscher, 86, was working in the yard when he dropped a pair of hand pruners, Jo Marie Gellerman, a UMC spokeswoman, said in a news release. The pruners landed on the ground point-side down, and when Luetscher bent down to pick them up, he lost his balance and fell face-down on the handle.

One side of the handle shot through his eye socket and went down his neck, Gellerman said. The other side of the handle was sticking out through his eye socket.

Surgeons at UMC removed the gardening tool, rebuilt his orbital floor with metal mesh and saved Luetscher's eye, Gellerman said.

"You wouldn't believe your eyes," Dr. Julie Wynne, assistant professor in the UA's Department of Surgery, said in the release.

Oculoplastic specialist Dr. Lynn Polonski and vascular surgeon Dr. Kay Goshima removed the pruners and treated Luetscher after surgery, the release said.

Four weeks after the incident, Luetscher has slight swelling and minor damage to the affected eye, Gellerman said in the release.

Contact reporter Fernanda Echavarri at fechavarri@azstarnet.com or at 573-4224

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