Science & Technology
Surgeons successfully conduct world's first whole-eye transplant
By T.K. Randall
November 11, 2023 · 4 comments
Could eye transplants be a cure for blindness ? Image Credit: Pixabay / blueberrykings111
Military veteran Aaron James had lost his eye and half of his face in a high-voltage electrical accident.
The idea of transplanting an entire eye has been on the cards for years, but until now, the only part of an eye that surgeons have ever successfully transplanted into a patient is the cornea.
When 46-year-old Aaron James lost his eye in a horrific work-related accident, however, he provided surgeons at New York University's Langone Health the unique opportunity to carry out the procedure.
In total, the complex surgery took 21 hours to complete.
While surgeons were able to successfully implant the eye, only time will tell whether or not James will actually be able to see through it.
As things stand, it has been six months since the surgery and he has yet to regain his sight, but surgeons remain optimistic that there is still a possibility that this will happen.
"The mere fact that we transplanted an eye is a huge step forward, something that for centuries has been thought about, but it's never been performed," said team leader Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez.
"If some form of vision restoration occurred, it would be wonderful, but... the goal was for us to perform the technical operation."
"I don't think anyone can claim that he will see. But by the same token, they can't claim that he will not see."
For James himself, the surgery was well worth it.
"I told them, 'even if I can't see... maybe at least you all can learn something to help the next person.' That's how you get started," he said.
"Hopefully this opens up a new path."
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