A man from Goulburn is set to be the first Australian person to have their blindness treated using a tooth that has been implanted into the eye. John Ings, 71, is undergoing the radical new procedure called osteo-odonto keratoprosthesis, which is a form of artificial cornea surgery.
Mr Ings said that his blindness was caused by the herpes virus and it has been getting worse for the past sixteen years, with his right eye becoming almost completely sightless and his left eye deteriorating dramatically as well. If there are no teeth that can be used in his mouth, he has been told that the procedure could be done with some bone from his skull or his hip instead.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, John will have a tooth removed and some of the tissue taken away from it before the tooth is implanted into his right eye. The tooth first has to be placed into the cheek to make sure that it has a good supply of blood, then it can be implanted into the old cornea before being sealed in place with the removed tissue. The surgery takes four operations overall and John will start the long process sometime next year; it has been used overseas before but this is the first time someone in Australia has had it done.