Sunderland's on-loan striker Nicklas Bendtner feared for his career after fracturing his eye socket against Swansea last month.
The 24-year-old Denmark international was caught in the face by defender Angel Rangel's boot during the 2-0 Premier League victory over the Swans.
It later emerged he had suffered a fracture which was to sideline him for a month before he was able to resume training wearing a protective mask.
Bendtner scored from the penalty spot in Sunday's 1-1 draw at Newcastle and the on-loan Arsenal man feared his career could have been over if he had lost the use of an eye.
"I don't mind getting kicked because that's part and parcel of the game. You can get away with a broken nose, or broken jaw - that will heal," he told the Sunderland Echo.
"But your eyes - they are the most important thing, and when I realised what had happened, my first thought was: 'I'm blind!'. At first, I couldn't open the eye or see out of it at all. Eventually, when I could open the eye, all I could see was redness, so it was a real worry wondering if that would go away.
"The medical staff did really well. They got an eye specialist in straight away and I needed injections in the injury to settle things down. It was not good. I feared the worst - if you can only use one eye, your career is finished.
"The mask enables me to play though, now and I'm glad that I did because scoring in the derby on Sunday was a special moment in what was one of the most intense matches of my career."