AN "inspirational" blind student has defied the odds to complete a university degree.

Jack Pearson celebrates his 22nd birthday today by holding an exhibition of work he has completed on his degree in graphic design, illustration and digital media at Bradford College.

He has less than ten per cent sight in his left eye, less than five per cent sight in his right eye and is registered as blind.

Jack, of Hunters Park Avenue, Clayton, Bradford, was diagnosed with septo-optic dysplasia at birth, which means the eye does not develop as it should. The rare congenital malformation syndrome affects one in 10,000 newborns and the degree of visual impairment ranges from normal vision to complete blindness.

He will graduate in December and hopes to work for a time in graphic design, before then retraining as a teacher working with disabled people to "give something back".

But modest Jack, a former pupil at St Bede's Catholic Grammar School, Heaton, said he does not think he is remarkable and hard work led to him getting a place on his degree course, which he completes on Monday, June 23.

"I don't class myself as anything different, I just do what I do. Everyone else thinks it's amazing.

"I have spent a lot of time training my eyes," he said.

"People ask me how do I manage? I think it's normal, I'm used to seeing what I see and I can walk about knowing where I am - I use one eye more than the other."

"The course has been really good. Reading and writing has been hard with my eyesight but the designing is easier, as I can zoom in on the computer."

Jack's mother, Joeanne Higgins, said: "He has been absolutely astounding. He has achieved what he has due to his determination. He is just an inspiration.

"It took a lot more work for him.

"He is considering what to do next and might do a teaching degree to help people with disabilities. But he would love to carry on in graphic design."

Course tutor Paul Holmes added: "He has really triumphed and worked extremely hard."