Jockey Gavin Lerena will be out of the saddle for just under a fortnight after having a growth removed from his left eye at the Johannesburg Eye Hospital on Monday.
Lerena, who finished in third position on the national log last season with 150 winners, spent three months riding in the UK to gain some insight and experience of local conditions, towards the end of the season.
Speaking to the Sporting Post, his Dad Tex Lerena explained that Gavin had decided to have the operation done to remove the pterygium during the quieter period in early August.
The cause of the growth is not known but Tex explained that it is more likely to occur in cases of fair eyes – Gavin has blue eyes and he is quite light sensitive. It is also known to occur in people who spend a lot of time outdoors – in hot, dry environments.
A pterygium is a triangular-shaped lump of tissue which grows from the conjunctiva on to the cornea. A pterygium is not a cancer and is sometimes confused with cataracts.
Gavin is back home and will spend the next 12 days recovering.