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LEWIS E. STEELE v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (06/28/78)

decided: June 28, 1978.

LEWIS E. STEELE, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND BOROUGH OF MIDLAND, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Lewis E. Steele v. Borough of Midland, No. A-71926.

COUNSEL

Edwin H. Beachler, with him McArdle, Henderson, Caroselli, Spagnolli & Beachler, for appellant.

Elmer G. Klaber, with him James N. Diefenderfer, for appellees.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr. and Mencer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 36 Pa. Commw. Page 353]

Lewis E. Steele (Claimant) has appealed the decision

[ 36 Pa. Commw. Page 354]

    of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) reversing the referee's award of benefits under Section 306(c) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act.*fn1 The sole issue is whether Claimant has suffered the loss of use of his left eye for all practical intents and purposes, as the result of his admittedly job-related accident. We hold that he did, and reverse.

Claimant had been employed by the Borough of Midland (Borough) as a driver of street cleaning equipment. On June 14, 1973, he was hammering on a piece of equipment with a hammer and chisel, when a sliver of steel from one of the implements struck his left eye, penetrating the eyeball. The next day Claimant underwent surgery for removal of the piece of metal; several days later, following the development of a traumatic cataract as a result of the penetration of the foreign body, surgery was again performed to remove the cateract, and with it the lens of Claimant's left eye.

Claimant received two and six-sevenths weeks compensation, signed a final settlement receipt, and returned to work on July 11, 1973. The case went before the referee on Claimant's petition to set aside the final receipt.

The referee heard testimony from Claimant, from Claimant's medical witness, an opthalmologist, and from the Borough's medical witness, the opthalmologist who performed the surgery on Claimant's eye.

[ 36 Pa. Commw. Page 355]

There is no dispute about the following facts. Prior to the accident, Claimant's left eye was affected with amblyopia, or "lazy eye" and had a central visual acuity of 20/400, correctable to 20/200. Following the accident and surgery, Claimant could see only light and hazy, undefined forms out of the left eye, and his vision was further impaired by the presence of a large "floater" which he described as a dark slit which floats around the visual field. He had no central vision in that eye and the only contribution that the eye made to his sight was that it gave him peripheral vision which enabled him to see the shadowy forms of objects coming from his left side and thereby afforded him some added protection. Furthermore, he has 20/20 vision in his ...


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