A 78-year-old legally blind Israeli man has reportedly regained his sight following an artificial cornea transplant — the first time such a procedure has ever been successful.
Jamal Furani of Haifa was able to read text and recognize relatives after receiving CorNeat Vision’s biomimetic implant during the less than an hour long operation last month, the Times of Israel reported.
“Unveiling this first implanted eye and being in that room was surreal,” the company’s co-founder, Dr. Gilad Litvin, told the paper.
“Witnessing a fellow human being regain his sight the following day was electrifying and emotionally moving,” Litvin said. “There were a lot of tears in the room.”
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The artificial cornea, made out of a synthetic, non-degradable porous material, fits into the eye wall to replace scarred or deformed corneas.
Once implanted, the material integrates with live tissue by stimulating “cell proliferation” within the eye, thanks in part to nanoscale chemical engineering, the company said.
Once his bandages were removed, Furani saw the light, the company said in a Jan. 11 statement.
“The surgical procedure was straight forward and the result exceeded all of our expectations,” Professor Irit Bahar, who performed the implant surgery, said in the statement.
Furani suffered from edema of the eye and other diseases that rendered him legally blind for about a decade, the outlet said.
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Furani was one of 10 patients approved for the experimental procedure at the Rabin Medical Center, with two more sites due to open in Canada this month.
Other sites in the US, France, and the Netherlands are awaiting approval.
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