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Goole man sees again for the first time in 47 years

24 April 2020

A Goole man who has been blind since the age of nine is able to see again after life-changing surgery.

Derrick is welcomed homed following a life-changing operation  Derrick is welcomed home following a life-changing operation

Derrick Johnson, 56, has been a resident of Aldam House, a Sanctuary Supported Living (SSL) service for people with mental health needs, for the three years.

As part of a personalised care and support package provided by the supported housing service, Aldam House staff took Derrick to appointments at Hull Royal Infirmary to find out what treatment might be available to improve his eyesight. Despite originally being told there was no treatment, staff refused to give up on finding a solution for Derrick.

After consulting with doctors, Derrick was referred to a specialist at Brighton Hospital and eventually received a successful surgical corneal transplant on his poorest eye at the end of March.

Following a long journey home to Aldam House, as the country was beginning to make changes to better manage Covid-19, Derrick had gone from not being able to see more than a centimetre in front of him, to being able to read a welcome home poster made by his fellow residents and staff.

Derrick said: “It is wonderful to see out of my eye now, especially to watch TV as I have missed that. I really want my right one doing now and I hope I can, so I can have full sight.”

Residents at Sanctuary Supported Living receive personalised support tailored to their individual needs, from managing medical requirements and attending appointments, to dealing with finances and developing the skills needed to live as independently as possible.

Local Service Manager Sonya Thomas said: “Our journey to Brighton Hospital and back was approximately 12 hours in total each time we visited. Negotiating the Tube and escalators as part of that journey is no easy task with a blind person who can only see one centimetre in front of him.

“Derrick is enjoying the flowers and trees in bloom for the first time in our garden, which he planted last year. He is also enjoying watching the birds that he feeds daily. We’re hoping he can also have the operation on his other eye, which also has limited vision, once the lockdown restrictions are lifted.”

Download a PDF version (108KB) of this story.

It is wonderful to see out of my eye now.

Derrick, Aldam House resident

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