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The sight of thousands of people with previously incurable forms of blindness could be saved thanks to a pioneering new gene therapy that requires just one operation.

In the land of the blind, Lord Archer is king

'Two men agree that one will tell only the truth, the other only lies. Both get into terrible messes'

Letter: Welfare cuts

TOM LEVITT MP states that "no future claimants of DLA [disability living allowance] and other disability benefits will see their entitlement to incapacity benefit [IB] reduced" (Letters, 14 November). This is utterly wrong. No protection has been offered to people who fail the new contribution test - regardless of how severely disabled they are. The only group who will be protected in future are IB claimants who also receive DLA highest- rate care component, ie, those who need 24-hour care. This small group, which constitutes less than 2 per cent of IB claimants, will be exempted from the pensions means test. But, of course, few people move from work one day to needing 24-hour care the next. In practice people will find their benefit is reduced by the means test over several years, while their condition deteriorates to the point where they finally qualify for the highest rate of DLA care. The vast majority of people we regard as severely disabled - double amputees, blind people, paraplegics etc - will not be protected at all.

Letters: Internet switch-off

Sir: Eva Pascoe ("What I would really like from my.govern-ment.com", 20 September) feels frustrated as a taxpayer unable to find information which might enable her to participate in our "new media age" of online government.

Guide dogs take the biscuit at Labour conference

LABOUR has come up with a new weapon against dissent at its party conference - dog biscuits, writes Marie Woolf.

Cataract surgery harmed patients

AN INQUIRY has been launched at Southampton General Hospital after cataract operation patients have ended up with damaged corneas.

Blindness risk to contact lens users

CONTACT-LENS users should remove their lenses at night to avoid the risk of infection that can lead to blindness, experts warn today.

A Question of Health

I AM gradually becoming covered with soft lumps under the skin of my arm and trunk. They do not hurt or cause any real problems, but I am concerned they may turn cancerous. My doctor says that they are fatty lumps that will do no harm. Am I worrying needlessly?

Health: But the blind shall see...

British surgeons are restoring eyesight to the blind, by using a controversial new technique that involves grafting pieces of amniotic membrane on to damaged eyes.

Health: The future is blurred

Half of us could be short-sighted soon - and it may be an evolutionary consequence of modern lifestyles. Roger Dobson looks at a worrying development, while Eileen Fursland (below) finds a new surgical procedure offers hope to the blind

Light on at night `damages eyesight'

CHILDREN UNDER two who sleep with a night-light on are three times more likely to develop shortsightedness than children who sleep in the dark. A study of the risk factors associated with myopia has revealed a strong link between shortsightedness and ambient light levels at night.

Independent Pursuits: Creativity Loki

JOB LOSSES. Huge entry, so only one go each.

Surgeons still try to cover up errors

DOCTORS ARE still reluctant to tell patients when they make an error, despite warnings that they could be struck off if they try to bury their mistakes.

Looking out for the invaders

The immune system is designed to fight infection, but it can be confused by drugs and supplements. By Roger Dobson

Flat Earth: The first Monica

GIVEN WHAT has been going on not far from Georgetown, you would not especially envy someone called Monica Monica.
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