A Norfolk MP has spoken publicly for the first time about the sight loss he suffered as a child after a football accident.

Duncan Baker has been virtually blind in his left eye since his retina detached following a blow to the head during a game with friends when he was aged nine.

Now, 30 years on, he described his “tears of joy” after an operation restored his sight.

Due to the damage caused, Mr Baker, who is MP for North Norfolk, had around 25pc vision growing up.  

He underwent two operations when he was a child, but this led to a cataract developing that left him virtually blind.

Fakenham & Wells Times: Duncan Baker is healing from his eye surgery - Picture: SubmittedDuncan Baker is healing from his eye surgery - Picture: Submitted (Image: Duncan Baker)

He said: “I just got on with life.  

“I couldn’t see anything but because I was so young, I just got used to it.  

“The only drawback was at school as I really wanted to play team sports with my mates, but I was never allowed because if I lost the sight in my right eye too, I would be completely blind." 

Last summer, Mr Baker noticed the remaining vision in his left eye started to deteriorate further and he developed a squint.   

He added: “The little vision I had was basically now all gone.  

“I was told years before that I had a cataract, but I was too young to be operated on.  

“The cataract was now so dense I couldn’t see anything, and we think the brain basically shut my left eye off, in turn developing a squint.”

He was told his cataract surgery would not be a routine operation.  

His optician recommended being reassessed at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

Consultants confirmed a dense cataract and gave various options to deal with the squint.

Because the little vision had rapidly deteriorated, the hospital wanted to see what sight they could get back.  

Most cataract patients are aged from their mid-60s, but Mr Baker, 43, was considered a viable patient.

Fakenham & Wells Times: Duncan Baker with his daughter after his operation at the Norfolk and Norfolk University Hospital - Picture: SubmittedDuncan Baker with his daughter after his operation at the Norfolk and Norfolk University Hospital - Picture: Submitted (Image: Duncan Baker)

On Wednesday, March 30, Mr Baker underwent a 30-minute operation, knowing the risks of double vision occurring due to his previous operations and extensive sight loss. 

However, by the following day the bandage was removed and it was clear that the operation has been successful. 

Surrounded by his family, he was able to see better out of his left eye for first time in nearly 30 years.  

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“Although there are a few weeks of recovery ahead, I could see significantly better straight away,” he said. 

“You can imagine having been virtually totally blind in that eye for years and years, to then be able to see my wife and daughter, Eleanor, was like a miracle. I just cried.  

“To have a lot of sight back was amazing.  

“I then phoned my dad and cried at him too. It was understandably very emotional."

Fakenham & Wells Times: Duncan Baker in Holt, north Norfolk - Picture: Stuart AndersonDuncan Baker in Holt, north Norfolk - Picture: Stuart Anderson (Image: Stuart Anderson)

Mr Baker is still recovering as the eye heals but is already "back on light duties" at work.

His next hurdle is for the brain to realise there is sight again in that eye and to reactivate it to correct the squint.  

“On that only time will tell,” he added. 

“I just want to thank Dr Sabatino and the teams at the NNUH and Cromer who have seen me and been amazing. As well as all the messages from my constituents, they have been so kind.

"It is so important to have your eyes regularly checked at the opticians.  

“Good eye health is so vital to make sure any deterioration is spotted as soon as possible.”

Fakenham & Wells Times: Duncan Baker is already back at work on light duties! - Picture: SubmittedDuncan Baker is already back at work on light duties! - Picture: Submitted (Image: Duncan Baker)