- Nathan Cummings, 24, was blinded by chemo, which left his sight
- He needed treatment after a ping pong ball-sized tumor was found in his brain
- After being blind for a year, doctors have now restored the vision of his right eye.
- Now he can see his girlfriend of 25 years Samantha Maywood for the first time
A cancer survivor, who was blinded by treatment for her deadly brain tumor, has had her vision restored by surgeons.
Blackpool’s Nathan Cummings described his girlfriend, whom he saw for the first time last week, as “one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met”.
The 24-year-old was diagnosed with a malignant tumor two years ago, when doctors found a ping pong ball-sized mass in his brain, which his family feared would die.
The effects of chemotherapy left him with cataracts, a condition that can gradually lead to complete blindness.
Mr Cummings, who was taught to use a cane, told gazette: ‘It was as if I was walking through fire. It was as if my eyes were full of smoke, my vision was clouded. I really couldn’t see anything. It was like this for about a year.
Nathan Cummings, 24, lost his sight as he was affected by the intense chemotherapy needed to save his life after a tumor in his brain the size of a ping pong ball was detected in his brain in 2019. But now a major operation means he can see. from his right eye
Nathan Cummings says seeing his girlfriend of eight months, Samantha Maywood, for the first time is ‘best feeling’ after regaining his sight
Mr Cummings said the support of family members such as his grandmother Anne and grandfather Bob Cummings made him ‘let go’
‘At first it wasn’t too bad. I could still see a little. But as time passed, it got worse.’
Medics at Blackpool Victoria Hospital offered him laser eye surgery and two cataract operations, in the hope that it would make him stop relying on others for help.
The surgery gave him the ability to see with his right eye but was unsuccessful in restoring his left eye.
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts occur when the lens — a small transparent disc inside the eye that helps focus light — becomes cloudy.
According to the NHS, the patches gradually enlarge over time, and can cause blurred vision and, in some cases, blindness.
Cataracts affect about half of people over 65 in the UK. According to statistics, about 24 million adults over the age of 40 in the US also suffer from this condition.
They are much less common in children, with about one in 3,000 being born with them or developing them in childhood.
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists warns that due to the rapidly growing population, the number of cataract operations required is expected to increase by 50 percent over the next 20 years.
People are at higher risk if they have: diabetes, have had an eye injury, are taking certain medications, or have other eye conditions.
Cataracts can also be caused by cancer treatments as a result of radiation given to the body to kill cancer cells, so people with head and neck cancer are especially at risk because of the close proximity of the eyes to the potential treatment site.
Symptoms usually develop very slowly and include being more sensitive to light and thinking that everything looks washed out.
Cataracts can be surgically removed and replaced with an artificial lens. No other treatment is available.
The Mail has long campaigned against the current unfair system for surgery in the UK, which was the postcode lottery, until the health watchdog issued guidelines last August to tackle the problem, which has led to many victims. Was denied a 30-minute operation straight away.
It was the first time Mr Cummings had set eyes on his girlfriend, 25-year-old Samantha Maywood, the pair had started dating after losing his sight.
The couple met on dating site e-Harmony, with Ms Maywood helping guide them on their outings, including a few cinema dates where Mr Cummings listened to the film.
He said, ‘We went to see Fast and Furious 9.’
‘I walked in, and it was pitch black, and I couldn’t see anything. I really didn’t want to see it – I took it to say thank you to him for helping me.’
On finally being able to see Ms Maywood’s face for the first Mr Cummings said: ‘She is one of the most beautiful people I have ever met.
‘When I first met him, I was blind, and I told him: ‘I’m going to take care of you. You are probably the most beautiful person I have ever met.
‘I still think the same way – even though I’ve got my eyesight back, I still think she’s one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met.’
She added on seeing her for the first time: ‘To be honest, it was the best feeling I’ve ever had.’
Mr Cummings was diagnosed in 2019 after suddenly falling ill, having fallen more than a stone in weight in just four weeks.
Medical scans showed a tumor that had been growing inside his brain for years.
The oncologist said that it has already reached the most dangerous stage, which means that it was growing rapidly.
Mr Cummings underwent two intensive rounds of radiotherapy and chemotherapy at Christie’s Hospital in Manchester in 2020.
Despite helping him fight his cancer, the treatment caused him to lose his eyesight.
The chemotherapy drug that killed fast-growing cancer cells also damaged his eyes.
He said: ‘I couldn’t do anything on my own. Others could go out on their own, meet their friends and family—there was nothing I could do.
‘It affected me every day. I had a few falls off the curb, and because I’m over six feet tall, I had a way to go.
‘I trained someone to come out and use a cane, which helped me a lot.’
Mr Cummings underwent a total of three operations to restore his vision, including two cataract surgeries, where a plastic lens is inserted to replace the cloudy natural lens.
Only one of these surgeries was successful, partially restoring his vision in one eye, which was later improved through laser eye surgery to almost complete recovery.