SOUTH WALES: A blind man who had surgery to help him see has passed his driving test - just seven weeks after he regained his sight.

Joseph Lewis, from Newport, South Wales, had suffered with extremely poor vision his whole life, and his outlook on life was bleak after he developed cataracts six months ago, forcing him to lose the little sight he had.

But after a complicated operation prevented him from a lifetime of blindness and enabled him to see, the ambitious 26-year-old has just passed his driving test, seven weeks after his surgery.

Mr Lewis said: ‘I had always wanted to be able to drive but it seemed impossible, especially once the cataracts developed.

‘I just didn’t know how my vision would be after the surgery - before I couldn’t read a car number plate at 10 metres, let alone 20 metres, but now I can see far into the distance, it is incredible.’

Mr Lewis would not have qualified for surgical intervention on the NHS until he was blind, so he sought advice from a private eye treatment specialist and underwent a risky operation to give him sight. Mr Lewis 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.’–MOL

During the complicated life-changing operation, Mr Lewis’ surgeon removed the cataracts and replaced his natural lenses with artificial ones, which have been surgically implanted into his eyes and work in the same way as the most advanced lenses in a pair of glasses.

Mr Lewis said: ‘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. That was something I never thought I would be able to do in my life.’