Artificial Lens Can Give Sight Back To Blind.
Artificial Cornea Called A 'Medical Milestone.'
September 12, 2003.
KIRO 7 Eyewitness News.
SEATTLE -- It's being called a medical milestone: an artificial lens that can give sight back to the blind.
"It's very hard, you know, when you have something all of your life, and it's just gone," said Kimberly Lamb, 34, whose donor corneal transplants in the past had failed.
Dr. Thomas John did the procedure in this story. His office number in Illinois is (708) 429-2223 and in Indiana is (219) 769-3555.
Kimberly is legally blind. But that could change soon, thanks to a cutting-edge artificial cornea.
The lens is implanted into a pocket made in the old cornea. Then, a protective flap of tissue is brought down over the eye, like a bandage.
Over the next three months the eye's own cells will grow and anchor the new cornea into place.
"This is a great option. This is a phenomenal option. People who are blind and there's no other alternative, and now you're able to restore their eyesight. That is I think, a major advancement in corneal transplant surgery," said Dr. Thomas John, an ophthalmologist.
In clinical trials, eight out of 10 patients had sight restored.
"We're not expecting 20/20. If it happens then that's great, but even if it's an improvement from being legally blind, to seeing, to being able to read, to look at loved one's faces which they haven't seen in years, [the surgery] makes a big difference."
In December, a second surgery will determine if Kimberly's new cornea is effective.
"I've got so many people praying for me through. I think it's going to be a good outcome," said Kimberly.
So far the artificial corneas are only being offered to people who aren't candidates for traditional transplants.
Copyright 2003 by KIROTV.com. All rights reserved.
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