A mechanical lead pencil tossed playfully by a schoolgirl at an eight-year-old Rehovot girl during class nearly cost the child her sight, which was saved in an emergency operation at Kaplan Medical Center.

Linoy Gathon, who was injured two weeks ago and is now recovering, recalled Sunday that she had passed a pencil to a schoolmate at her table, and that the girl had thrown back an eraser in exchange. A third girl, a few meters away, thought it was a game and threw her mechanical pencil at Gathon.

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Its graphite point broke off and entered the cornea of her right eye, and it was so painful that she couldn’t open it.

Gathon was rushed from the Yavne’eli School to the Rehovot hospital. She underwent an emergency operation performed by doctors Arye Markovitz and Yohai Shoshani, who removed a piece of lead from deep inside her cornea and stitched the hole closed.

The girl was hospitalized for a few days, during which she was given antibiotics to prevent infection. At a checkup at Kaplan on Sunday Gathon was told that her eyeball had suffered no permanent damage.

She said that while she was hospitalized, everyone in the school talked about the incident, and the teachers led discussions on accident prevention.

The ophthalmology team called on parents to educate their children about the dangers inherent in the use of pencils, both mechanical and standard.

“In Lenoy’s case, she was very lucky... it even was a miracle, because the graphite pierced the edge of her eye and not the center.

She could have lost her sight,” the doctors said.

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