After a 21-hour operation last May, I have had a transplant eye But the medical team at New York University Hospital NYU Langone Health has now announced that there have been “remarkable signs of recovery.” The retina was also getting blood supply. The clinic therefore spoke of an “unprecedented” breakthrough in transplant therapy. Even doctors who were not involved in the procedure praised the operation as a significant advancement.
Patient Aaron James received a 7,200-volt electrical shock in an industrial accident in 2021 when his face touched a power line. He lost his left eye, part of his face and part of his left hand.
Surgeons transplanted the 46-year-old man’s left eye and parts of his face from a deceased donor. According to the University Clinic, more than 140 surgeons and other medical staff were involved in the operation.
While corneal transplantation has long been a common procedure, transplantation of a whole eye has never been successful before. However, it is not clear whether such an operation can restore vision because the optic nerve containing approximately one million nerve fibers is cut.
Doctors also praised the transplant in New York on Thursday. “This is a huge deal,” Kia Washington, a surgery professor at the University of Colorado, told AFP news agency. Given the time that has passed since the operation, she does not believe that the patient will ever be able to see with his own eyes. “But I never say anything is impossible.”
Doctors are already researching how the optic nerve can be restored, for example through gene therapy. It is also being investigated whether a connection between the eye and the brain can be established by bypassing the damaged optic nerve.