Successful eye transplant by New York surgeons for Arkansas man

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During a recent meeting of surgeons in New York, they claimed that they had performed the world’s first complete eye transplant on a person, although it has not been determined whether or not the patient will be able to regain the ability to see.

Despite being a high-voltage utility line worker from Arkansas, Aaron James underwent a revolutionary surgery that involved a full eye transplant and half of his face being replaced, which marks a major breakthrough in the search to restore sight to millions of people worldwide.

A live 7,200-volt wire accidentally touched by James, 46, in 2021 resulted in most of his face being lost.

BBC reported that the 21-hour procedure was performed by 140 healthcare professionals at the Langone Health Center at New York University (NYU), making it the first full eye transplant to take place in the world.

On Thursday, James’ doctors announced that he had recovered from the rare surgery successfully, and that he was doing well after the dual transplant.

There is no certainty that he will be able to regain his sight, but the surgeons at NYU Langone Health do not exclude the possibility either as they have reported that the donated eye appears to be extremely healthy, and that his right eye still functions properly.

There are millions of people around the world who suffer from vision loss on an annual basis, and this medical milestone offers hope to them. In the future, it might be possible to perform more complex eye transplants based on the success of this procedure.

Dr Eduardo Rodriguez, one of the leading surgeons on the team, remarked, “the feat itself is a tremendous accomplishment many people have long imagined would not be possible,” he said referring to the first successful whole-eye transplant with a face.

The next step in restoring vision has been paved and we have made one major stride forward toward reaching our goal.”

In an interview with ABC News, Dr Rodriguez clarified that he did not claim that his procedure will restore sight. “I do not have any doubts in my mind that we are one step closer to achieving our goal.”

“It would be great if I could see out of it,” James said in an interview with ABC News. As a matter of fact, as long as it kick-starts a new path in the field of medicine, then I am for it.”

In the words of Bruce E. Gelb, MD, a transplant surgeon at NYU’s Langone Medical Center, James, a military veteran, will continue to be monitored by doctors in the weeks ahead, but he has seen “exceptional” progress with his eye transplant, he said.

In order to repair the optic nerve, stem cells were injected into the donate face and eye from an adult male donor in his 30s, and a new face and eye were created.

According to James, his experience with the eye transplant was “life-changing” and he is “grateful to the extent of indescribable gratitude” to the donors and their families who made the surgery possible for him.

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