Russell Turnbull, 38, lost most of the vision in his right eye when he had ammonia sprayed into it as he tried to break up a fight on a late night bus journey home.
The attack, which badly burned and scarred his cornea, left him with permanent blurred sight and pain whenever he blinked.
Now however his sight has been almost fully restored thanks to a new technique where doctors regrow the outside membrane of his cornea from stem cells taken from his healthy eye.
The new operation involves cutting away a millimetre squared section of his left eye complete with stem cells and growing it to 400 times that size in the laboratory.
The new outer skin of the eye is then stitched onto the badly damaged cornea in place of the damaged membrane.
The technique, developed by scientists and eye surgeons at the North East England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI). has been used on eight patients and for most of them including Mr Turnbull it has almost completely restored their vision.
Dr Francisco Figueiredo, Consultant Eye Surgeon at NESCI team, who co-led the project, said: "Corneal cloudiness has been estimated to cause blindness in eight million people worldwide each year.
"The stem cell treatment option is aimed at total cure rather than symptom relief only. This new treatment will alleviate patient suffering and remove the need for long term multiple medications as well as returning the patient to functional and social independence."
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