They performed the first complete human eye transplant

For the first time in history, they successfully performed the first complete eye transplant on a person. However, they still do not know for sure whether the patient will regain sight in the transplanted eye. The surgery was performed in a hospital in New York and the patient underwent a multi-organ transplant, since in addition to the eye they also transplanted half of his face.

Complete eye transplant

The tragic accident of Aaron James

Aaron James, 46, a native of Arkansas, was the patient who received the transplant. He worked with high voltage lines and in 2021 he had a heartbreaking accident.

In a tragic incident, his face came into contact with a high tension wire, resulting in the loss of his left eye, as well as his left arm above the elbow. Additionally, she suffered the amputation of her nose, left cheek, lips, front teeth, and entire chin.

The first complete eye transplant in the world

The procedure was carried out in May 2023 and lasted 21 hours, with the participation of 140 professionals, including surgeons, nurses and other members of the medical staff.

In the reconstructive interventions prior to the facial transplant, the surgeons sectioned the optic nerve close to the eyeball, which facilitated the viability of the subsequent transplant operation.

According to the surgeons involved, James’s eye shows very good signs of health. The retina, which is responsible for receiving light and sending information to the brain, receives a good blood supply. Although this does not mean that the patient will be able to see through the transplanted eye.

eye transplant

The complex operation was supervised and directed by surgeon Eduardo Rodríguez. He is director of the Facial Transplant Program at the hospital where the surgery was performed. Rodríguez decided to use stem cells from James’ bone marrow, combined with the anonymous donor’s eye.

Stem cells were used in the surgery

It is also the first time that stem cells have been used in an optic nerve, which will allow for better recovery. This transplant demonstrates that it is possible to restore a complete eye in the eye socket. However, what remains to be known is whether the operation is simply cosmetic or the patient will also be able to restore vision.

According to James, the eye feels fine, although he still doesn’t have any eyelid movement. Furthermore, he expressed that he felt very good about being the first to receive this type of transplant.

Today, corneal transplants are common, although the transplant of an entire eyeball marks a milestone in the history of medicine.

Specialists believe that this is the first step in a possible treatment against blindness.

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