Director Marcus Ubungen: Almost losing the eyes behind the vision

Having suffered a serious eye injury as a teenager, Director Marcus Ubungen shares his vision for healthy eyes alongside pro surfer Caroline Marks and Randy Griffin, O.D., as part of AOA’s Eye Deserve More campaign.
Marcus Ubungen

When I first heard about the Eye Deserve More campaign, I immediately wanted to be a part of it because the message—there’s no replacement for in-person, annual eye care from a medical expert—resonated with me on a personal level. And not just because I’m a director and rely so heavily on my eyes to do my job, but because I had a vision scare as a teenager that made me recognize the important role my eyes play in every aspect of my life.

“It was a struggle being a teenager in total darkness at the time […] and I realized how much I took my sight for granted.”
-Marcus Ubungen

When I was in high school, I suffered an injury playing sports and temporarily lost vision in my right eye. The impact caused bleeding in the eye, which prevented any light from shining through. For over a month I had to sit and sleep upright and let gravity settle the blood. Part of the treatment involved wearing an eye shield to prevent any movement, but eyes work as a pair, I had to cover both eyes during the recovery process. It was a struggle being a teenager in total darkness at the time. Normal activities such as eating, showering and using the phone became huge obstacles, and I realized how much I took my sight for granted. You can’t fully appreciate the senses until you lose one of them.

After that experience I made it a point to get an eye exam regularly. I was told I might have an increased risk for Glaucoma in the future, so a simple annual visit to my eye doctor can prevent so many future problems. My optometrist knows my line of work, and she can track how my vision has changed over the years. I love that. A huge part of my job is to look at screens and through viewfinders all day, so eye health is a high priority for me. I take frequent breaks from my screen and wear blue-light-filtering glasses. I feel that a little bit of upstream thinking can go a long way, and anyone can start doing these things today.

“My optometrist knows my line of work, and she can track how my vision has changed over the years. I love that. ”-Marcus Ubungen

Working with Caroline Marks, who is currently a teenager herself, was a great way to help get the word out to young people that it’s never too early to start taking proactive steps to care for your eyes. It took a serious injury for me to realize the importance of regular eye care, but I hope this campaign will resonate with people of all ages that taking simple precaution—including an annual, in-person eye exam—can make all the difference in the world.

Find an AOA doctor of optometry near you.

Find a Doctor of Optometry

Find a Doctor of Optometry

Patient Stories

Jennifer Douglas: Living with Sjögren’s

What happens when chronic dry eye turns out to be something more? Patient Jennifer Douglas describes her Sjogren’s Syndrome journey from initial symptoms to daily maintenance routine.

One year after COVID-19 and fighting for my vision

Struggling with symptoms including light sensitivity, pain and poor depth perception, Mark didn’t know what was wrong with his eyes. But his doctor of optometry did: the lingering effects of COVID-19. Together, they were able to work through a treatment plan to help Mark on his road to recovery.

All eyes on the future

The youngest surfer to qualify for the world championship tour, USA Surfing member Caroline Marks discusses the important role preventative eye care plays in her sport—and her future in general—as someone who is regularly exposed to the elements.