Judge is back on bench after sports injury damaged vision in both eyes

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A North Dakota judge returned to the bench this week, after a two-month leave of absence when a sports injury eliminated much of his vision in both of his eyes.

“I knew right away it was bad—boom, lights out right away,” said Fargo District Judge John Irby. A freak basketball injury that eliminated his vision in his right eye and reduced vision in his left eye occurred as he was playing a lunchtime game, report WDAY and the Associated Press.

As the judge and another player went for the ball at the same time, the other player’s hand hit Irby’s right eye, rupturing it. The basketball hit his left eye, detaching the retina, the articles explain.

Adjustments that have helped Irby read documents on his computer include a larger monitor, reducing screen glare and changing the color of his mouse arrow from white to black, the AP reports.

“It did feel good to be back. You want to feel like you contribute,” Irby said in interview with WDAY.

While the loss of vision to his right eye will be permanent, it is hoped that a February surgery will improve the sight in Irby’s left eye, WDAY reports.

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