James Corden Explains Why He Needed Emergency Eye Surgery That Was Performed While He Was 'Awake'

Gabrielle Chung

James Corden is opening up about the emergency eye surgery that led him to postpone several episodes of The Late Late Show with James Corden last month.

The late-night talk show host, 41, spoke about the medical procedure during Wednesday's episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, explaining that he had been dealing with an eye injury he sustained back in 2012 that he thought had healed over time.

"For some reason, about a year ago, it flared up again — this little sort of scratch on my eyeball — so I’ve been seeing doctors a lot," he explained. "I've been looking after it. About a few weeks ago, three weeks ago or something like that, I woke up and I couldn’t open my eye, which meant I couldn’t open either of my eyes."

"It just hurt," Corden remembered.

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The Carpool Karaoke star said he sought treatment that morning and was advised by his doctor that he needed immediate surgery.

"The doctor I've been speaking with said, ‘Look, I think we have to sort this out. I think this has been happening too many times,' " Corden shared. "He took one look at my eye, and he said, ‘We’re gonna operate on it now.’ And I said, ‘But I’ve got a show at 5 p.m.’ And he said, 'No, you don’t.' He said, ‘You don’t have a show 'til the earliest next week. You’ve got to do this right now.' ''

While the operation was very last-minute, Corden said he was "quite grateful" for the timing because it meant he "didn’t have time to dread it."

The Cats actor went on to describe the surgery to host Ellen DeGeneres.

"It’s the strangest thing 'cause you're awake, but it’s numb so you can’t feel anything," he recalled, explaining that he was conscious during the procedure. "They clamp your eye open like A Clockwork Orange and then you can see what they’re doing, but you can’t feel it because it’s numb."

Lester Cohen/Getty James Corden

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In late April, Corden announced on his Instagram that he was unable to film new episodes of The Late Late Show, which he had been shooting remotely from home due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, due to "minor surgery on my eye."

"I am doing well and recovering, but won't be able to film new episode for a few nights," he said at the time. "Thank you to everyone who has been watching the Late Late Shows from my garage. I'll be back soon. Stay safe and well everybody. x."

During his appearance on Ellen, Corden also briefly addressed why he did not drive Justin Bieber when the pop star appeared on Carpool Karaoke earlier this year, explaining that his eye "was really hurting and we were worried that it wouldn't be safe."

"So hopefully — touch wood — it’s better, but we’ll see,” Corden added.