China eye-gouge case: Boy begins implant surgery

This picture taken on 3 September 2013 shows six-year-old boy, Guo Bin, being held by his mother at a hospital in Taiyuan, north China's Shanxi province
Image caption Guo Bin was found with his eyes removed and covered in blood

The six-year-old Chinese boy whose eyes were gouged out has begun surgery that will give him prosthetic eye implants.

Guo Bin is being treated at a private hospital in Shenzhen by a doctor who has volunteered his services.

But the prosthetic eyes, which will look and feel like real ones, will not restore the little boy's vision.

Guo Bin was found with his eyes removed and covered in blood in Fenxi, Shanxi province, on 24 August. Police suspect his late aunt was responsible.

State media have reported that the aunt - whose motive for an attack remains unclear - killed herself six days after the incident by jumping into a well.

Police said they found Guo Bin's blood on her clothes. The little boy's parents say they do not know of any reason why she would have attacked their son.

Guo Bin and his family travelled to the southern city of Shenzhen on Sunday.

A spokeswoman for Dr Dennis Lam told the Agence-France Presse news agency that the first operation involved fitting implants similar to artificial eyeballs to give volume to the eye in order to fit an eye shell.

Guo Bin will then have a recovery period before the shell, or prosthetic eyes, can be attached. These will be then connected to tissue and muscle for movement.

After that sensory devices that generate electronic signals to help him identify shapes could be fitted.

Dr Lam, who is based in Hong Kong, said he hoped Guo Bin could benefit from the further development of electronic eye technology directly linked to the brain - something he said was at least five to 10 years in the future.

"We don't know if this will be successful in the end, but if there is this possibility, then why should we not give a chance to little Bin-Bin?" he said in a press conference.

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