Groom regains sight on his wedding day

PUBLISHED: 06:23 20 July 2006 | UPDATED: 09:44 31 May 2010

A VISUALLY impaired man from Sawston is on top of the world after a drug allowed him to see his bride on their wedding day. Andrew Hall, 30, who has only six per cent vision due to the hereditary illness retinitis pigmentosa, was able to see his new wife

A VISUALLY impaired man from Sawston is on top of the world after a drug allowed him to see his bride on their wedding day.

Andrew Hall, 30, who has only six per cent vision due to the hereditary illness retinitis pigmentosa, was able to see his new wife Carolyn Rendle, 25, when they were married at the Free Church in the village.

His father David said: "It was a wonderful occasion and it is truly amazing how much of a confidence boost and a lift it was to Andrew to be able to see on his big day.

"He can usually see only shadows, which means it is impossible for him to read the newspaper and watch the television, let alone walk down the aisle unaided.

"The drug, which has helped him so much, acetazolamide, dries his eyes out as usually have too much water in them, but it can only be taken in small doses because of the side effects."

Andrew, whose mother Patricia is a carrier of the illness and was diagnosed with the condition at the age of 16, had lost 90 per cent of his sight by the time he was 24.

"It went very rapidly and sadly there is no cure for the illness, but the drug gives him a glimmer of hope every time he is allowed to take it," said his father.

"He takes it on a daily basis for a month at a time, but then has to come off for it a month or two, which is obviously very frustrating."

Retinitis pigmentosa causes the degeneration of photoreceptor cells in the retina, which capture and process light to allow us to see. As the cells die, patients experience vision loss.

The side effects of the drug include extreme pins and needles and tics in the muscles.

Andrew, who has lived in Sawston all his life, is now also getting his dream business off the ground with the help of his brother Chris, who also suffers from the illness.

Chris, 25, said: "We started our wedding accessories business a couple of weeks ago and it has been Andrew's dream for a long time.

"We are running Hall Occasions online from home at the moment and hope to open a shop on Sawston High Street in September.

"It is great to work together and hopefully we will be able to live Andrew's dream together over the coming years."

To find out more about their venture, visit www.halloccasions.co.uk or ring 01223 839568.

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