Tetsuya Naito Goes Into Detail on Eye Problem Which Required Surgery

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In an interview with NJPW1972.com, Tetsuya Naito goes into detail about the eye issues he was suffering that required surgery back in November. Here are the highlights:

On his eye surgery:

“That’s right. I started having issues with my right eye last May. Right above the eyeball there are these three little muscles… It was one of those. That muscle was paralyzed. So essentially my right eyeball wasn’t being supported properly. That meant I could see out of one eye, but with both eyes open I couldn’t focus my vision.

All my opponents were looking at me with four eyes, basically. I’d be in four vs four tags against eight opponents. Working with six ropes. In October at Ryogoku I went from seeing double to triple. But if I squinted with my right eye, I could just about get some kind of focus. If there was something I really had to look at, I’d shut my right eye.”

On thinking it’d go away on its own:

“Well, I kind of thought at first that if I slept it off, it’d get better by itself, but it didn’t. And then I went to see an optician on my own, but that was no good either. I spoke to the trainer, saw opticians, neurologists, ear, nose, throat guys, and nobody could figure it out. Eventually I was told to go to a university hospital and get it really thoroughly investigated. That was September. So I’m making no excuses for my results in the ring, but you can probably understand how hard it was to concentrate.


I was seeing two of everything, tripping far more than usual. Even walking up the steps to the ring or running the ropes was something I was having to take much more care in doing. Things that I wouldn’t normally think twice about, I was suddenly having to consider really carefully. And up to now, I’ve always taken backstage comments quite seriously, but if I had nothing left over after my matches, I wasn’t going to half-ass a promo. So I was giving fewer comments.”


On if it was dangerous to be in the ring with the condition:

“Yeah, it was. For everything apart from singles matches, I was leaning on the rest of LIJ quite a lot. They knew my eyes were messed up, but nothing specific, I don’t think.”

On deciding to have surgery:

“We finally figured out the cause of it all in September, and from there I realized that I needed surgery, but we needed to figure out a good time to do it. I even thought at one point I’d go for the surgery after the Tokyo Dome, but as it happened, I could take time off from halfway through World Tag League, so it worked out. I really did think that I might be done. My issue was with the muscles over the eye, but it was a very similar issue to what retired Milano Collection AT. He had paralysis in the muscles underneath both eyes.

The affected muscle was one of three, so apparently what they did was bind all three together to give the eyeball proper support. Well, because one of those muscles was paralyzed, it meant there wasn’t proper tension to bear the eyeball; one of them was slack all the time. With the three tied together it created enough of that tension. It isn’t going to be 100% like it was before last May; if I look upward, my vision’s a bit blurry, but it’s much much better. I can look at you right now fine at least!”

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