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How telescopic sight has changed my life; Gerald benefits from pioneering treatment.

Byline: By JOANNE DOUGLAS News Reporter

A HOLMFIRTH man has had a mini telescope fitted into his eyes.

Gerald Morris suffered with blurred vision for a decade and lost his central vision.

He was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which there was no treatment for at the time.

But last December he became one of the first people in the UK to have a telescopic lens implanted in his eyes.

It was an operation that has transformed his life.

Mr Morris, 70, said: "About nine or 10 years ago I started having blurred vision and I went to see the eye specialist who found I had this macular degeneration condition.

"My eye sight gradually became worse until I completely lost my central vision.

"It was only last December I found out about this groundbreaking treatment and I thought "what have I got to lose?"

"I now have a mini telescope in my eyes which has really transformed my vision."

A keen golfer, Mr Morris experienced problems socially and was unable to recognise friends in a room before the surgery.

He added: "If I went into a pub I could see the shapes of people but I couldn't see who they were, which could be embarrassing.

"It was a miserable thing to have.

"I never let it stop me playing golf, my golf partners all knew about my problem and when I hit the ball they would look where it went.

"But now it is fantastic.

"Unfortunately having my sight back hasn't improved my game, but there's time for that."

The active 70-year-old, married to wife Patricia who he has two daughters with, was given pioneering treatment that was developed at Milan University.

The operation involves the surgical implantation of a pair of lenses that divert the image away from the damaged macular and on to a healthy part of the retina using the principals of the Galilean telescope.

He underwent treatment at the Yorkshire Eye Hospital in Bradford, which is one of the first hospitals in the UK to offer the pioneering treatment.

Shafiq Rehman, consultant ophthalmologist at the Yorkshire Eye Hospital, said: "Gerald's sight has improved significantly and his treatment could be a lifeline to so many people like him.

"Each year in the UK around 17,000 to 18,000 people are registered partially or severely sight impaired due to AMD.

"It is possible that around half of such patients could be able to benefit from these implants.

"I think telescopic implants and perhaps further developments in the future will become an important part of the management of these conditions."

Macular facts

Macular degeneration is the most common cause of sight loss in the over-50s

The centre of the inner lining of the eye, known as the macula area of the retina, suffers from thinning

This can result in loss of central vision, which prevents sufferers seeing fine details to read or to recognise faces

More than 17,000 people are registered partially or severely sighted due to AMD.

CAPTION(S):

ABLE TO SEE AGAIN: Holmfirth man Gerald Morris (S)
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Apr 16, 2008
Words:513
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