By Alexa Kaczka
Sunderland Eye Infirmary has been helping to restore sight to thousands of people every year thanks to its pioneering cataract operations.
Surgeons at the facility, which is located inside Sunderland Royal Hospital, revealed that the majority of people receiving treatment are over the age of 70, and told the Sunderland Echo that they are helping to change lives of patients.
Specialists invited reporters in to an operation involving 53-year-old father Peter Lee, who had cataracts in both eyes and feared they would lead to him failing a medical for his day job as a HGV driver.
He explained to the newspaper that the procedure is nowhere near as painful as people may think and produces excelling results in a relatively short space of time.
"I'd say it's a two out of ten in terms of being painful. The staff here are brilliant. They make you feel so relaxed," Mr Lee told the newspaper.
Dianne Hurcombe, department manager at the Sunderland Eye Infirmary, added that she has seen plenty in her 23 years at the hospital, and witnessed first-hand the work done by the surgeons who help to restore sight to the blind.
"It's one of the most common surgical procedures to remove a cataract but it’s also a very delicate procedure," she explained.
The process involves making a tiny three millimetre incision in the eye, before removing the cataract and inserting an intraocular lens, which is then left alone until the scar naturally heals.
Me Lee, who has two children, extolled the virtues of the procedure and backed up the claims made by Ms Hurcombe about it being gentle and effective.
“I was that comfortable I wanted to shut my eye and go to sleep. You just feel so relaxed when you're getting it done. You know it isn't going to hurt. I couldn't feel a thing," he told the newspaper.
by Adrian Galbreth