WARNING: The above gallery contains graphic images.
Click or flick across to see the full extent of Jason James's injuries (iPhone app users tap 'Photos').
A LAVINGTON father has been permanently blinded in his left eye after a savage, unprovoked attack in Dean Street, Albury, less than a fortnight ago.
The attack on Jason James, 50, split his eyeball, smashed his eye socket and broke his nose.
He is deaf in his left ear but doctors expect his hearing will return.
Mr James carefully peels off the white cotton patch taped over his eye as he sits on the couch he has been sleeping on for the past week.
A bloodshot eye appears through a slit in his swollen eyelid.
“I don’t even know if it’s open,” he says.
He can’t drive for the next three months and he has to avoid sneezing so his eyeball doesn’t fall out.
Mr James, who had separated from his wife a year ago, had been regularly going out with friends who had also found themselves single after years of marriage.
In the early hours of November 11, Remembrance Day, Mr James’ friends peeled off into taxis.
He had wanted a bite to eat before he went home so he walked from Zed Bar to Sweethearts.
His next memory is waking up in hospital.
It is believed a young man attacked Mr James after hassling him as he walked to Sweethearts.
Mr James has on his phone a picture of himself in a hospital bed.
His face is a mess and he’s barely recognisable through the dried blood and purple patches.
He remembers the youngest of his two children, Meg, 18, coming in with his ex-wife and his sister later that morning.
“My daughter was devastated. I’ll never forget that,” he says.
“The whole pillow was covered in blood.
“You never want to see your dad like that.”
Ron Staff was also out with friends and had seen Mr James earlier in the night at Zed Bar.
The Albury resident was in Dean Street at 2am when he heard someone scream out, turned and saw Mr James fall to the ground across the road from Sweethearts.“I could see quite a lot of blood on the ground,” Mr Staff said.
It was natural for the 27-year-old Defence Force member and son of a paramedic to help.
He assessed Mr James’ injuries and ran to Sweethearts to get water and a towel to stem the bleeding while a group of people gathered to watch.
Mr Staff watched over Mr James in hospital during the night following the attack.
In his semi-conscious state on the footpath, Mr James told Mr Staff he walked away from the first encounter before he was king-hit.
“It was uncalled for. I don’t believe in any way he deserved it,” Mr Staff said.
“Jason was smart and he had walked away from the situation.”
Mr James doesn’t know if he’ll be able to return to his job as a process worker at Wilson Transformers in Wodonga, although his boss has told him he’ll see what the company can do for him.
Mr James has been taking painkillers every night and collapsing on his couch.
He said the support from friends and his children has kept him positive as he faced the unknown.
“It’s totally devastating but I’m alive,” he said.
“A lot of people don’t wake up from this.”