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Groundbreaking operation: 83-year-old blind man can see again

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Groundbreaking operation: 83-year-old blind man can see again

The patient, who was completely blind due to two different diseases, partially regained his sight thanks to the autotransplantation of the entire ocular surface (cornea, part of the sclera and the conjunctiva) from one of his eyes, doctors at the Molinette Hospital in Turin announced on Friday. The operation is a world premiere.

The four-hour procedure was performed by a team led by Michele Reibaldi, director of the University Eye Hospital Molinette, and experienced retinal surgeons. The patient had lost sight in his left eye for 30 years due to irreversible retinal blindness and had also been blind in his right eye for the past ten years due to a rare disease. “The real innovation is that we have extended corneal transplantation to the entire surface of the eye, to connective and sclera tissues, which play a key role in successful transplantation under special conditions,” explained the doctors.

Two weeks after the operation at Turin’s Molinette Hospital, the patient is able to recognize people and objects and to move around unaided. “The frontiers of transplantation have shifted significantly in the last 20 years and Italy is a world leader,” said Professor Vincenzo Sarnicola, President of the Italian Society of Cornea and Stem Cells.


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