Nova Scotia

Cape Breton rocker Matt Minglewood regaining sight after freak accident

The 72-year-old award-winning musician fell in his garden in Glace Bay, N.S., in early July, smashing his face and driving something, likely a hydrangea branch, behind his left eye.

Minglewood speaks this week about July fall in garden that damaged left eye

Cape Breton musician Matt Minglewood is recovering his vision after he fell in his garden in early July. (Joe Sampson/Rockpixels)

Celebrated Cape Breton performer Matt Minglewood is recovering his sight after a freak accident this summer.

The 72-year-old award-winning musician fell in his garden in Glace Bay, N.S., in early July, smashing his face and driving something, likely a hydrangea branch, behind his left eye.

Minglewood said he rushed to his family doctor, who saw the bulging eye and thought he might have suffered a brain hemorrhage. A couple of CT scans later, doctors determined there was no hemorrhage.

But they told him the sharp object had left an air pocket behind the eye, and likely irreparably damaged the optic nerve.

"Originally, I was legally blind," Minglewood told CBC's Information Morning Cape Breton.

Road to recovery

He began wearing an eye patch and coming to terms with the idea he might never see again from that eye.

But he said within 10 days, his vision gradually improved. During his most recent visit to his opthalmologist, a week ago, he was told he may make a full recovery.

"I went from the patch, and making jokes about myself, you know, 'Arr, arr, me maties,' and things like, 'All I need is a parrot on my shoulder,' to getting my sight back."

Despite the injury, Minglewood, the 2018 East Coast Music Awards Fan's Choice Entertainer of the Year, was back on stage less than a week following the accident.

With a career dating back to the late '60s, Matt Minglewood is one of the icons of the East Coast music scene. (Submitted by Larlee Creek Hullabaloo)

He had half a dozen shows booked in 10 days across Nova Scotia with his band.

"It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be," said Minglewood.

He said he was tired, was on lots of medication and was finding it hard to keep his balance with one eye.

"I had to sit to get through those shows, I couldn't stand."

But in the past week, Minglewood said he's played two shows, one in Liverpool, N.S., and the other in Prince Edward Island, and he was able to stand the whole time.

Still recovering

He said his vision is still blurry, and he has occasional double vision, which poses some challenges on stage.

"I see two [guitar] necks, and the frets on one aren't in the same place as the other one," said Minglewood. "So I miss a few notes here and there."

But he said he's continuing to improve, to the point where he's been able to stop wearing his now familiar eye patch.

"Ironically, a lot of people were saying, 'Oh, we're going to miss the patch, you rock the patch,'" said Minglewood. "They can miss it all they want, I'm never going to miss it."

With files from CBC Cape Breton's Information Morning

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