It has been a rough year for television sports personality Damien Alameda. The Sports Director for Marana-based KOLD TV. Alameda has battled internal shingles in his eye, which has led to vision loss, multiple surgeries and time away from work.
If you follow Alameda on social media you know that he loves three things, his daughter, food and covering sports. The shingles adversely affected his ability to do his job and he is still adjusting to the difficulties at work.
“Eyes had to adjust to the studio lights,” explained Alameda. “I have the Teleprompter brought up pretty close for me. Eyes get sore quickly so I have to take more frequent breaks from watching screens (TV, computer, and otherwise).”
In fact, one of the things that bothers his eye the most is prolonged exposure to monitors, so a television station is probably the worst place for him to be, considering everywhere you turn there is either a television screen or a computer monitor.
Unlike external shingles, which manifest themselves in a painful rash, internal shingles are not painful. The multiple surgeries, however, have been.
Alameda first noticed that something was wrong last August when he saw black spots from his left eye. He was on vacation when the spots first appeared. Thinking it might be allergy related, he tried some eye drops and promptly saw his vision get much worse.
“I put them in and within seconds this black cloud moved left to right over my vision until I couldn’t see out of that eye,” Alameda said. “That was my indication that something was wrong.”
Once they finally diagnosed his problem as internal shingles, he underwent a few small procedures, but then around Halloween his vision worsened and they realized that he has a detached retina. That surgery did not do much to repair his vision and in April he had a small band placed around his eye.
“The surgeon sewed a buckle around the eye to ensure the retina doesn’t fall off again,” Alameda said.
The eye is very fragile, so much so that the eye has been described as being like “a broken Ming vase held together with super glue.”
Alameda was out six weeks, making his return in late June. The adjustment has been slow. He could not even drive himself to work until early July. He is still working on being able to shoot and edit video and occasionally has to “take a break from monitors.”
Originally from Los Angeles, Alameda came to KOLD eight years ago and rose to his current position as Sports Director. Damien, his wife and his young daughter have carved out a home in Oro Valley.
For now Alameda will let the eye rest, but there is another surgery on the horizon. This one will, in part, place a new lens on the eye. There is optimism that this procedure will return most of his vision, but there are no guarantees. Alameda still has near perfect vision in his right eye and has been touched by the outpouring of support from his family, co-workers and his fans.