Pioneering surgery saves pensiioner's sight
Friday 04 December 1998
John Barr, a retired dentist, had already lost all sight in his right eye and his left eye was failing so rapidly he could recognise people only when they were close up. After the operation on his left eye, he is riding a bicycle again and reading small print in newspapers.
Charities for the blind welcomed the news of the new operation but said they wanted to see full trials on the procedure to ascertain how successful it could be.
Surgeons at Royal Liverpool Hospital's St Paul's Eye Unit operated on Mr Barr, who lost the sight of his right eye seven years ago through macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is the most common cause of blindness in the Western world, affecting a million people in Britain, primarily the old. It is a condition in which the retina wears out over time, leaving sufferers with only peripheral vision.
Until now, the only treatment has been laser therapy but this cannot be used on most patients. "I'd had laser treatment but that had not worked and things were pretty bleak," Mr Barr said yesterday. "I jumped at the chance to be one of the first patients to try this operation."
The surgeons at the unit worked to transfer Mr Barr's vision from a worn part of the retina to a healthier area, thereby restoring his sight. "Put simply, it is like moving around a carpet which has a worn patch in it and tucking the worn part away," said David Wong, chief opthalmic surgeon. "I believe that this is the single most important surgical development for many years."
Mr Barr can now read a number plate at 25 yards. "In time, my vision may improve enough for me to drive again."
A spokesman for the Royal National Institute for the Blind said the news was "very exciting" but more work needed to be done. "We need to know how much vision it restores, whether it works in all cases or only for certain people. There are a lot of questions."
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 2 Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor David Dinsmore reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
- 3 Parma, Missouri: 80 per cent of town's police quit after first black mayor is elected
- 4 Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
- 5 Google search history can now be downloaded in its entirety, mass embarrassment expected
Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor David Dinsmore reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
'Jihadi John': Isis executioner Mohammed Emwazi wanted to wage jihad in Somalia until his friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
Parma, Missouri: 80 per cent of town's police quit after first black mayor is elected
Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£35-45K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a .NET Developer / Web ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Commercial Manager is required to join a lea...
£18000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for your first ...
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Small and agile digital marketi...