PHOTOS: Man Somehow Survives 3-Inch Nail Embedded in His Eye Socket

A 27-year-old gardener in Boston made a miraculous recovery after a three-inch nail was lodged into his eye. The injury was a result of a work accident—the man was using a weed whacker when the machine kicked up a nail. The three-inch long metal flew directly into the landscaper’s right eye socket.

Not only did the man suffer no lasting brain damage, but he was able to fully recover his vision in the injured eye. His success story has now become a case study for doctors in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The man has not yet been identified, however the doctors who worked on him at the Massachusetts General Hospital described the two-year-old case in detail for a recent edition of the medical journal.

According to the reports, had the nail gone any deeper it would have impaled his brain—which could have caused death or long-lasting neurological damage, or could have even killed him.

“When you looked at him, all you saw was the back end of the nail,” Dr. Wael Asaad, wrote.


Doctors had to use a new, more detailed, type of CT scan on the patient to determine how long the nail was and at what angle it traveled through the socket.

Once they ascertained that the nail had not punctured the eye itself, nor had it impaled the brain, they were able to create an action plan.

Unfortunately the process wasn’t as simple as just pulling the nail out. The nail was position up against two main arteries that provides blood to the head and eyes. One wrong move and an artery could rupture—causing the patient to that could have damaged the patient’s brain or eyesight forever. One slip could have potentially even killed the patient.

It took a team of three surgeons to dislodge the nail in the successful operation.

The patient was even able to go home that same day—after a tetanus shot and antibiotics of course. His vision had completely returned to normal after only eight weeks of recovery.