A PENSIONER has been given a new lease of life after receiving pioneering eye surgery.

Daphne Moore, 75, is now able to see her husband's face properly for the first time in years.

She had been struggling to cope as her eyesight became so poor she could not even see the optician's eye chart.

Mrs Moore was suffering from Fuch's endothelial dystrophy, a painful condition that affects nearly four in 100 people over 40.

The problem leads to the cornea being degraded as the inner lining of the eye wears out.

It means patients can end up near-blind.

Previously, the only solution was to have a full cornea transplant - a complex procedure carried out under general anaesthetic where recovery would take more than a year.

Further surgery and contact lens are also often needed to ensure adequate vision is returned.

Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust consultant ophthalmologist Fook Chang Lam has perfected a new technique after getting specialist training in the Netherlands from its inventor.

It involves a sheet of cells thinner than a single human hair (the thickness of cling film) being inserted into the cornea through a hole just three millimetres wide.

Vision recovers within weeks and the chance of the cornea being rejected reduces from 10% to less than 1%.

Mrs Moore, from Yapton, was one of Dr Lam's first patients to have the procedure, called Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty.

She now has driving level eyesight after the surgery, which was carried out under local anaesthetic at Worthing Hospital.

Mrs Moore said: “It is so wonderful to have it done and be able to see again after so long. It has really made a new world for me, a new life.”

Mrs Moore's husband Colin said: “It's just incredible and it has totally changed her life because she was really struggling with virtually no sight at all - everything was just a blur.”

The procedure is only available from a handful of centres internationally and Dr Lam already has several operations scheduled for Worthing and St Richard's Hospital in Chichester over the coming months.