After 14 Years of Darkness, Blind Reverend’s Sight Is Restored

After 14 Years of Darkness, Blind Reverend’s Sight Is Restored
An optometrist (R), performs an eye exam. (John Moore/Getty Images)

The miracle that reverend Philip Dunn, of Valley Christian Assembly in Charleston, West Virginia, waited fourteen years for has finally arrived.

The 61-year-old reverend’s vision deteriorated after developing cataracts and macular degeneration—a disease that causes the small central portion of the retina to deteriorate. The retina, located at the back of the eye, is what senses light. The condition currently has no known cure.

Rev. Dunn was informed that he wouldn’t begin losing his sight for several years, but things took a turn for the worse in the following months, as he began noticing black dots clouding his vision, a telltale sign of the disease.

“That was the beginning of macular degeneration,” he told local television station WCHS.

In spite of the bleak diagnosis, Dunn’s faith never wavered, and wholeheartedly believed he would one day see again. Instead of giving up his commitments, he listened to tape recordings of the Bible in order to prepare his services.

“I knew in my heart I was going to be able to see again, I just didn’t know when,” he said.

The beginning of his long-awaited miracle came in August last year, in the form of severe pain and headaches in his left eye. Doctors quickly determined the source of the pain – a ruptured cataract. If left untreated, his optic nerve would likely incur even more damage. Surgery to remove the suddenly dangerous cataract quickly commenced.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, a cataract, or when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy and murky, is the leading cause of blindness globally. Cataracts develop for a variety of reasons at any age, though are more common in older people. An estimated 20.5 million Americans, aged 40 and older, have a cataract in one or both eyes.

According to the official Assemblies of God (AG) website, when Dunn returned home and removed the medical patch from his eye, he was greeted by the sight of his dining room, kitchen, and wife for the first time in 14 years.

“I went into the kitchen, my wife said, ‘Honey, you took the patch off,’ I said ‘Yeah,’ she said, ‘What do you see?’ I said, ‘I can see you!’” he said. “She was the first face I saw in 14 years.”

Not long after, the sight in his right eye was restored by a second surgery. His surgeon was unable to find any trace of the disease upon examination.

According to AG, his blindness had taken a particular toll on his daughter, Sarah. Dunn’s lack of vision prevented him from seeing her on her wedding day, although he was present for the occasion. He added that he is now able to happily relive the momentous occasion through his daughter’s wedding photos and videos. He was also able to see the faces of his son-in-law and grandchildren for the first time.

“The doctors did what they could. God did what they couldn’t,” Sarah said.

Dunn says he isn’t sure if the blessing is a permanent one, but is making the most of his sight while he has it—starting with a road trip to California.

“For the last 14 years I’ve dreamt of doing it, and I didn’t realize when that was going to come and it was finally a reality,” he said.

In his first sermon after regaining his sight, Dunn discussed a story in the Bible about a blind man healed by Jesus. Spurred on by his miraculous recovery, Reverend Dunn works to inspire and encourage people every day to “celebrate every moment,” and “maximize each day.”

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