Eye op lets near blind Newport man drive
10:46am Tuesday 15th October 2013 in News
A NEWPORT man virtually blind since childhood has achieved his lifelong ambition of learning to drive following eye surgery.
Lloyds Bank employee Joseph Lewis, 26, had little hope of ever being able to drive, but an operation has completely changed his view of the world.
His poor vision put him in the 0.02 per cent of the UK population with extremely poor eyesight, and cataracts had formed in the last six months and begun to cloud his vision even further.
He said: “I was not far off being registered blind and only able to work because the bank has been so good in supporting me with software that magnifies what is on the computer screen. I had always wanted to be able to drive but it seemed impossible, especially once the cataracts developed.”
Mr Lewis, who’s from Ringland, would not have qualified for surgical intervention on the NHS until he was blind, so he sought advice from a private eye treatment specialist.
He said: “Some surgeons felt that I was too high risk to operate on but I knew that I would soon be completely blind if I did nothing. I have suffered depression due to how my vision affects my life and I thought I would never be able to drive, so I have always been very dependent on other people.”
His surgeon replaced his natural lenses and removed the cataracts. During the procedure his lenses were replaced with artificial lenses which are surgically implanted into his eyes, and work like the most advanced spectacle lens, correcting his shortsightedness and astigmatism.
Mr Lewis said: “I just didn’t know how my vision would be after the surgery – before I couldn’t read a car number plate at 10metres, let alone 20metres, but now I can see far into the distance, it is incredible.
“Good vision is a gift and I hope that I never take it for granted. I couldn’t believe how many stars there are in the night sky, and most importantly, I have just passed my driving test – only seven weeks after the surgery!”
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