Polish eye surgeon restores Ukrainian judo champ’s eyesight in ‘miracle Xmas op’

Serhij Sydorenko (L), a 55-year-old athlete who won bronze in Judo at the Paralympics in Beijing, had been cared for by his wife Tamara for 30 years after an accident left both of his eyes badly burned. śląski uniwersytet medyczny /Facebook

A Ukrainian Bronze-medal-winning Paralympian who was unable to see for 30 years, has had his sight miraculously restored after a successful operation in Katowice.

Serhij Sydorenko, a 55-year-old athlete who won bronze in Judo at the Paralympics in Beijing, had been cared for by his wife Tamara for 30 years after an accident left both of his eyes badly burned.

The highly specialised operation involved removing the corneal endosperm, combined with removal of the eclipsed lens and transplantation of an artificial American cornea of a type known as the Boston 1.śląski uniwersytet medyczny/Facebook

Unable to move around independently he was only able to see movement and light. 

Following the invasion of Ukraine, Sydorenko and his family sought refuge in Poland with his family and it was then that he was diagnosed and qualified for an operation at a specialist eye hospital.

Thanks to Professor Edward Wylegała, an acclaimed eye surgeon and head of optometry at the District Railway Hospital in Katowice, Sydorenko was able to see his wife for the first time. śląski uniwersytet medyczny/Facebook

Thanks to Professor Edward Wylegała, an acclaimed eye surgeon and head of optometry at the District Railway Hospital in Katowice, Sydorenko was able to see his wife for the first time. 

Wylegała said after the operation: "I will never forget the way he looked his wife in the eyes. I won't forget the look of happiness in his healthy eyes."

The story was first brought to light by the Silesian Medical University in Katowice which wrote: "The story of our Ukrainian patient is like a real Christmas miracle. 

Posting on social media, the Silesian Medical University in Katowice wrote: "The story of our Ukrainian patient is like a real Christmas miracle.” śląski uniwersytet medyczny/Facebook

"After 30 years, the patient regained his sight and could finally look his wife and kids in the eye."

The highly specialised operation involved removing the corneal endosperm, combined with removal of the eclipsed lens and transplantation of an artificial American cornea of a type known as the Boston 1.

According to estimates, around the world there are 36 million people who are blind and diseases of the cornea are the fifth most common cause of blindness.

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