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EXCLUSIVE: MKR star Ash Keillah, aka the "friendly pirate", is ditching his eye patch after undergoing a miraculous procedure to repair his eye

''I spy with my little eye .... an eye!''

For years he's been nicknamed the "friendly pirate" thanks to his signature eye patch, but now former My Kitchen Rules star Ash Keilliah is bidding farewell to the accessory that has covered his damaged eye for years.
Ash, who in March welcomed his first child with wife and fellow MKR alumni Stacey Keillah, has wanted to repair his eye for years, ever since it was irreversibly damaged after he tried to break up a fight more than a decade ago.
And on Thursday, Ash revealed his damaged eye has been replaced by a brand new eyeball, that looks miraculously like a real eye.
"I spy with my little eye .... an eye!" Ash wrote on Instagram, alongside several close-up photos showiing off his new look.
Speaking exclusively to Now To Love, Ash explained his new eye is made from acrylic, and is actually a "shell that sits over the remaining parts of my eye tightly to help with movement."
Unfortunately, he is unable to see out of the eye.
"My optic nerve was severed [in the accident] so it wasn't possible to restore vision. But all the muscles in my eye were still intact," Ash revealed.
"This was for sure the best result I could have hoped for considering the severity of the injury."
Ash (right) and his wife Stacey (left) were contestants on last year's season of MKR. Image: Instagram
Ash no longer needs to wear an eye patch to cover his eye, thanks to his new acrylic eyeball. Image: Instagram
While he cannot see out of the eye, because his optic nerve has been damaged, he still retains his eye muscles so is able to move it around. Image: Instagram
He explained the procedure had been in the works for some time now.
"I actually had started getting it made while Stacey was pregnant, I wanted to feel a little more under the radar once [son] Jaiya was born and put more focus on my family."
When asked if he would be holding onto his eye patch, Ash replied he would be "keeping it for sure", joking he could "role play with Stace". Ha!
Pictured before his procedure with wife Stacey. Image: Instagram
Ash has been open with his fans about his condition and frequently posted photos on social media of himself without his eye patch, like this one. Image: Instagram
Ash has previously opened up about his eye injury, revealing it was damaged at a party ten years ago, when two men started fighting.
While Ash wasn't involved in the fight, he tried to break up the argument by pushing the offenders apart and calming the situation down.
But unfortunately, someone threw a glass at one of the people involved in the fight, and the glass inadvertently hit Ash, permanently damaging his eye.
"After the injury, I had an operation to re-attach the retina and that didn't stick and then they gave me another operation to re-attach the retina and that wasn't working either," Ash told Now To Love in 2019.
"So the doctors were telling me I can get a bunch more operations, which could take a couple of years and I'd have a chance of getting my eye sight back or get my eye removed, and I could be back in the water in a few months and pain-free."
Stacey and Ash now have a son together. Image: Instagram
Vintage Ash! Image: Instagram
But rather than waiting, he instead decided to have his eye removed.
"I didn't want to drag it out any more. I didn't want to go from operation to operation and honestly just wanted to get back in the water and get over it," he said.
Though there were a few people, including doctors, who questioned his decision to remove his eye, Ash has never looked back (pun intended).
"I couldn't get that operation done faster!"
"It showed me in a way that I can get through anything, you know, and I like the idea of being there for other people that are struggling and have gone through a lot of bad stuff to come out positive and happy and putting that example to everybody else. I kept sort of believing it until it was happening I guess.
"The patch has definitely become part of my identity and it started from something kind of tragic."
Stacey and Ash pictured during their time on MKR. Image: Channel Seven
The couple pictured just after they got engaged in Byron Bay. Image: Instagram
Ash and Stacey first met six years ago when they slid into each other's Instagram DMs, but were strictly friends for about five years, before anything romantic transpired.
"We were 'friends' because I had a giant beard and so she kept me in the friend zone," Ash told Husskie in 2018.
"We had a little date. I was living overseas at the time and we caught up for a coffee – it wasn't even a date, it was a catch-up. I was meant to be moving back overseas the next week and I got a call to say my job had fallen through and I was like: 'Guess what, I'm staying,' and she was like 'Guess what, I'm going to Melbourne for the week,' and I was like 'Guess what, I'm coming down.'"
The couple took their relationship to the next level last year, when Ash proposed to Stacey at Rae's on Wategos in Byron Bay, the luxury resort where the pair had one of their first dates, and just a few months later in September, they officially tied the knot in a gorgeous Byron Bay wedding ceremony.