Sight restored after 55-year wait
- 17 June 2011
- From the section Health
A man in the US, who was blinded in one eye 55 years ago, has had his sight restored, according to the Journal of Medical Case Reports.
The patient was eight when his retina was detached after he was hit in the right eye with a stone.
When the retina is detached for a long time it can be permanently damaged, so re-attaching it might not restore vision.
Doctors said restoring sight after this length of time was a medical first.
The man was 63 when he 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.
Doctors thought this was encouraging enough to try re-attaching the retina.
After surgery he was able to see again.
Surgeons believe it was successful because of the low "height" of the retinal detachment.
Dr Olusola Olawoye said: "To the best of our knowledge this is the first report of visual recovery in a patient with long-standing traumatic retinal detachment.
"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."