Matter of Walton
v.
Leach Steel Corp.

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Third DepartmentMar 13, 1962
15 A.D.2d 975 (N.Y. App. Div. 1962)

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March 13, 1962


Appeal from a decision and award of the Workmen's Compensation Board. Claimant suffered an accidental injury to his right eye in the course of employment which required surgical removal of the lens of the eye. With the use of scleral type of contact lens, this loss could be largely compensated and he would have 20/20 vision. Binocular vision was restored, too, by the use of the lens, but this was not 100% binocular vision because of some slight residual differences in vision even with the use of the lens. Claimant testified to having difficulty with the contact lens. He said "It irritated. To make me see better, I usually had to close the eye. I had to pull my eyelids down at times. It didn't do me no good. It was just sore." He stopped wearing the lens. The Referee found a 100% loss of the right eye because claimant "cannot, as a matter of sound medical opinion, be required to wear contact lenses", and while the board affirmed the Referee, it seemed to have done so on the loss of binocular vision. In either event, the gravity of the resulting physical condition depends on whether claimant can wear correcting lenses. There is medical proof in the record that where irritation occurs other lenses should be tried. The extent of correction possible without undue discomfort is determinative of the amount of the award. ( Matter of McNamara v. McHarg, Barton Co., 200 App. Div. 188, 189; Matter of Gainey v. Warren Nash Motor Corp., 231 App. Div. 768). There is no substantial medical proof in the record that effective lenses may not be used without undue discomfort. In this situation the claim should go back to the board for further development of the medical record. Award reversed, with costs to appellants, and claim remitted to the Workmen's Compensation Board. Bergan, P.J., Coon, Herlihy, Reynolds and Taylor, JJ., concur.