Woman registered blind 18 years ago regains sight

A 76-year-old grandmother registered blind for 18 years has had her sight restored after she was found to have cataracts.

Jean Baxter was told by doctors in 1982 that she had permanently lost her sight through an inherited condition after 39 years of wearing powerful glasses to rectify her failing vision. But a visit to an optician late last year showed she had needlessly been left blind.

Mrs Baxter, from Warlingham, Surrey, who has four children, had surgery six weeks ago to remove the double cataracts blocking her vision. Such was the success of the operation at East Surrey Hospital in Redhill that she no longer needs the spectacles she wore before losing her sight.

"The doctors warned me not to expect too much because my vision could have failed over the years anyway but when they took the dressing off all I could say was, 'My God'," she said. "My husband thought it was because I was still blind, but it was the brilliance of the colours. It was like I had been returned to this new, rich world of colour and shape - a wonderful, wonderful moment."

Mrs Baxter said the fact that she had continued to wear her glasses despite her blindness and the persistence of her husband, Arthur, 73, proved the crucial factor in restoring her sight. "I kept on wearing my glasses because I thought people might not recognise me after having them for so long. But my husband wanted me to have some new, more modern frames. He tried to make me appointments at several opticians but they all turned him down until he found one last November. She gave me a thorough examination and asked me if I knew I had cataracts - I was flabbergasted."

Mrs Baxter said she did not intend to seek redress from the unnamed hospital where she was told her sight had gone for ever. "People have been telling me to sue and get compensation, but I'm not interested. I was angry when I first realised what had happened but it doesn't matter now. I'm delighted to have my vision back."

She said doctors had told her in 1982 that she had inherited a progressive condition, which had also been passed on to her brother and sister. She began a new career after learning an alternative form of Braille, and becoming an instructor at a nearby centre for the blind.

Mrs Baxter said her restored vision had led to series of new joys, including being able to see her three grandchildren for the first time. "It is in many ways a whole new world. For example, I had assumed all my clothes would be dowdy beiges and blacks but when I opened by my wardrobe I literally cried with happiness at the colours that were mine."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required ASAP In Uminster

    £120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...

    Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

    £70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wimbledon, SW London

    £24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...

    Recruitment Genius: Magento Front End Web Developer

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Front End Web Developer is re...

    Day In a Page

    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
    Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

    Front National family feud?

    Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
    Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

    Pot of gold

    Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
    10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

    From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

    While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
    Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore