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Israeli artificial cornea helps blind man regain sight

Head of ophthalmology at Rabin Medical Center said 'the moment we took off the bandages was emotional and significant' for 78-year-old patient who had been blind for a decade.

Prof. Irit Bahar and Dr. Gilad Litvin, together with the first-in-human KPro patient and his daughter, at the moment his sight returned.
Prof. Irit Bahar and Dr. Gilad Litvin, together with the first-in-human KPro patient and his daughter, at the moment his sight returned.

Israeli doctors have recalled the “emotional and significant” moment last week when an Israeli company’s novel technology led to the successful transplant of an artificial cornea in a man who lost his sight 10 years ago.

The 78-year old underwent the procedure in Petah Tikva last Monday and Prof Irit Bahar, head of ophthalmology at Rabin Medical Center, said he was soon able to recognise his family and read words.

“The moment we took off the bandages was emotional and significant,” Bahar said. “Moments like these are the fulfilment of our calling as doctors. We are proud of being at the forefront of this exciting and meaningful project which will undoubtedly impact the lives of millions.”

The artificial cornea was developed by CorNeat Vision, which uses synthetic biology and nano materials to introduce implants. Corneas can become deformed, scarred, or opaque, and until now those needing a corneal transplant have had to wait for healthy donor tissue.

Company co-founder Gilad Litvin said it was a “surreal” experience. “Witnessing a fellow human being regain his sight the following day was electrifying and emotionally moving,” he said. “There were a lot of tears in the room.”

 

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