Blind Oregon man's vision returns, surprising doctors


by By AMY TROY /

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 1:36 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 24 at 2:12 PM

Video: Blind man gets sight back, but doctor's don't know how

PORTLAND - When Marty Alvey says "it's nice to see you," he means it.

Alvey of Tualatin has been legally blind for years but can suddenly see again. Friends and family are calling it a miracle.

The 90-year-old great, great grandfather said he's just grateful.

"I can see the buildings, the sky, I can see you. I can see the camera and it's unbelievable," he said.

Alvey was diagnosed with macular degeneration years ago and has not been able to see beyond 6 inches since then.

Now, however, he's hanging pictures to look at and making travel plans.

"It's a whole new life!" he said.

Everything changed when Alvey woke up around 2 o'clock Saturday morning feeling "unstable."

He called 911 and was rushed to a hospital in an ambulance.

While in the emergency room, Alvey realized he could see the doctor. He walked out before hospital staff could run any more tests.

Monday afternoon, two retina specialists with Kaiser Permanente examined his eyes.

Dr. Anthony Cirino had never heard of someone with macular degeneration having his or her eyesight restored. Ever.

After meeting with Alvey, Cirino said there was no explanation he could provide.

"I don't see any anatomical changes in the retina or the back of the eye to account for the improvement he's experiencing," Cirino said, adding,"it's really hard to say if this is something permanent or something that's going to reverse back to what it was previously."

Only time will tell, but in the meantime, Alvey is taking it day by day and counting his blessings.

"Why God did this for me I don't know, but if it only lasts another minute I have had the best blessing of my life!" he said.

His daughter, Jeanette, said the entire family is thrilled. She said she hopes this gives her dad a chance to see his newest great, great grandson, David.