A 60-year-old U.S. grandmother, blind for nearly a decade, has recovered her sight after surgeons implanted a tooth in her eye as a base to hold a tiny plastic lens, her doctors said.
Sharron Thornton, lost her sight in 2000 when she came down with a case of Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a rare disease that scarred her cornea, according to the University of Miami’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.
For patients whose bodies reject a transplanted or artificial cornea, this procedure “implants the patient’s tooth in the eye to anchor a prosthetic lens and restore vision,” said Thornton’s surgeon Dr. Victor Perez.
In the procedure, which was pioneered in Italy, but a first in the U.S., the medical team extracted Thornton’s canine tooth and drilled a hole into it to insert an optical cylinder lens. The tooth and the lens were implanted under the patient’s skin for two months so they could bond then implanted into the eye.
“A hole is made in the mucosa for the prosthetic lens, which protrudes slightly from the eye and enables light to re-enter the eye allowing the patient to see once again,” read an Eye Institute statement.
After a month Thornton was able to not only see objects and people’s faces but read newspapers, the Eye Institute said.
“This truly is a miracle,” the grateful patient said.