Pioneering op needed to save eye

Photo Ian Robinson'Attack victim, Matthew Noblett, with his family, sister Kate, mum Louise and dad Joseph
Photo Ian Robinson'Attack victim, Matthew Noblett, with his family, sister Kate, mum Louise and dad Joseph
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A CHORLEY teenager who was brutally attacked in the town centre has just undergone pioneering surgery to save an eye.

Matthew Noblett underwent a six-hour operation and had 170 stitches inserted in his right eye, in which he was punched by the thug.

“It was a bigger operation than I thought it was going to be,” said Matthew, who celebrates his 20th birthday on November 19.

“They cut my eye in half, pulled back the layers then sewed the layers back together, then folded it all back together.

“The operation was just to save my eye.

“If I hadn’t had it I would have lost my eye.”

The operation was carried out at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital by consultant surgeon Fiona Spencer DM FRCS (Glas) FRCophth.

Doctors warned Matthew, of Pear Tree Avenue, Coppull, who was punched outside the Swan with Two Necks in August, that he would never regain full vision.

Matthew had his eye glued at Chorley but was then referred to Preston because his eye was haemorraging and had a tear.

In effect, his eye was “shrivelling up.”

His attacker, 16, received just a police caution.

Matthew said he was disappointed more severe justice wasn’t handed out but that he was trying to keep positive after his whole ordeal.

He said: “I just try to keep my head up.

“Obviously it’s not very nice to have to go through that.

“I’m not letting it affect me.

“I know it’s going to stay like this vision-wise. It’s not going to improve.

“You just get used to it really, which is a shame,
but you just have to keep going.

“It’s very disappointing that this person was just given a police caution.

He said taking out a civil action through the courts had been discussed by the family.

“I don’t really know if we’re going to go down that route quite yet,” said Matthew.

Matthew, who is studying environmental management at the University of Central Lancashire, is a supervisor at Starbucks at Charnock Richard Service Station on the M6.

One of his fears is that he may meet his attacker face-to-face through the restorative justice scheme - which he doesn’t want.

He added: “I can’t personally think of a reason why you would want to punch anybody,” he said.

“Nothing he could say to me will change what he’s done.

“I will never forgive him for what he’s done.”

Matthew lives with his dad Joseph, 45, who has just started up his own business as a landscape gardener, mum Louise, 46, who works for the CAB in Preston and his sister Kate, 16, who is studying at Runshaw College.

Joseph said: “The operation was just to save his eyeball, not his sight.

“It’s the first time this operation has been done on such a scale – it’s trial and error.

“Matthew will now be affected for the rest of his life.”

“At the end of the day he police should have something in place to deal with something like this.

“I don’t know how’s he’s managing to keep as well as he is.

“It’s absolutely amazing. If anything, it’s affected me more than him.

“He’s having that much medication.

“The outlook for him at the hospital is just look forward to having further surgery on your eye.”

Joseph said the surgeon said it took five hours just to put the stitches in the eye.

“They filmed the entire thing. They told us it had never been done before,” he said.

“It’s a real strain – not only emotionally for the sake of Matthew – but financially due to the medication he’s on.

“Initially it was costing £75 a month for prescriptions, and I’m going back and forward to Manchester Eye Hospital every week.

“I’ve set up my own business but I’m having to give up work to take him to hosptial.

“You fear for the future for Matthew, how it’s going to affect him emotionally and physically.”