Medical miracle: Dad recovers sight after going blind

Paul Hil in his Manshed at Heath Royd, Halifax
Paul Hil in his Manshed at Heath Royd, Halifax

A dad-of-two who became blind from a degenerative eye disease has stunned doctors by recovering his sight.

Medical marvel Paul Hill was diagnosed with double detached retinas and Myopic Macular Degeneration, which led to the complete loss of his central vision in April last year.

But now the 46-year-old has had his sight return - in a miracle recovery which rendered his consultant speechless.

Mr Hill, of Heath Royd, Halifax, said he began to lose the sight in his left eye over ten years ago from the condition.

He said: “It’s common in older people but for me, it was due to being short sighted. Which I had been from a young lad. My eyes are more oval than round, which put a strain on my blood vessels.

“I had the left eye go, but then four or five years ago it started to go in my right eye.”
Mr Hill had to visit the hospital every four to six weeks for scans and would have drugs injected in his eyes to try and slow down the degeneration.

But in April last year, he noticed it was getting worse.

“I saw the consultant but he said it was pretty much game over now. There was nothing else they could do and I would have to register as legally blind. That was quite a shock.

“I had no central vision, just peripheral - but that was all soft focus, there wasn’t a lot there.”

The news was devastating for the keen mountain biker, who was fiercely independent and had worked all his life in digital marketing.

He refused to give up work, getting lifts from friends and increasing text sizes on his computer screen, and eventually taught himself to cycle - carefully - to work every day.

But in September last year, Mr Hill was dealt another crushing blow when he was made redundant from his job.

“It was a bit of a shock. But I just thought I’d crack on.”

With his digital skills, he decided to try and set up his own video production company in his garden shed - and call it ManShed.

He said: “I had done a lot of video but obviously wasn’t filming because I couldn’t see. But I could read scripts and learn what people wanted. It was creative story-telling that I was good at.”

Then, one month after being made redundant, Mr Hill noticed his vision altering.

“My sight started to shift. Things seemed to be changing - and for the better. I went back to my consultant and basically he was floored. He didn’t really speak at first. He kept looking at me through machines. He literally couldn’t explain it. He said he expected it to change a little bit but not what had happened.

“Basically my sight came back over time.

“I was like ‘wow’. For quite a time afterwards, I still couldn’t understand or believe it. From seeing nothing, and walking around with people and everyone helping you, to getting my sight back - it’s kind of a miracle.”

Mr Hill is now developing his ManShed business - with the help of West Yorkshire Enterprise Scheme mentors - and hopes to launch it soon.

“After a terribly tough year, I can literally see the light at the end of the tunnel and things are starting to look up for me and my family. It’s nice to think that things can get better for people, especially in terms of a potentially new direction in my life.”

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust’s medical director David Wise said: “This is great news and we are delighted for Mr Hill.”