He was blinded in one eye 55 years ago, but an American man has had his sight restored in what doctors describe as a medical first.
The patient was hit in the right eye when he was just eight years of age, detaching his retina – and after such a long period without sight, few people would have expected him to see again.
But, according to the Journal of Medical Case Reports, all these year later the 63-year-old went to the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, saying he had pain and redness in his eye. There was swelling, bleeding and a high fluid pressure in his right eye. After washing the eye out and treatment with a drug which stopped new blood vessels forming – the eye went from completely blind to being able to detect the source of a bright light.
Encouraged, doctors decided to try re-attaching the retina and – incredibly – after surgery he was able to see again. Surgeons have since explained that it was most likely successful because of the low “height” of the retinal detachment.
“To the best of our knowledge this is the first report of visual recovery in a patient with long-standing traumatic retinal detachment,” said Dr Olusola Olawoye said. “This is not only a great result for our patient but has implications for restoring eyesight in other patients, especially in the context of stem cell research into retinal progenitor cells which may be able to be transplanted into diseased retinas to restore vision.”