Kiwi soldier may lose eyesight

By Kate Shuttleworth

A Kiwi soldier has an eye injury sustained during a live firing practise. Photo / File photo
A Kiwi soldier has an eye injury sustained during a live firing practise. Photo / File photo

It is unclear whether a New Zealand soldier, hit in the eye by a piece of metal during live fire training in Afghanistan, will recover his eyesight in one eye.

The member of the Provincial Reconstruction Team was hit in the eye by the piece of metal during target practice in Bamiyan province on Monday, local time.

He was flown to Bagram Air Base for initial surgery, and was later flown to a hospital in Germany.

Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant Rhys Jones said the soldier was wearing ballistics-proof glasses.

"Those glasses are more designed to protect against rocks thrown up by blast, light shrapnel rather than a bullet. We're still investigating as to what that came from. It must have been pretty sizeable to penetrate the glasses," he said.

Lt Gen Jones said this morning the soldier will require further surgery, but his current condition was not known.

He would not say if the man would recover full eyesight or be vision-impaired as a result of the accident.

"The surgery that occurred in Afghanistan was stabilising, but they require him to be moved to Germany for the more detailed work on the eye.

"It was a pretty serious penetration.

"At this stage we can't say what the recovery rate is going to be," he said.

- APNZ

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