A complete eye transplant has been successfully performed for the first time in New York. The medical procedure took place six months ago, but was only announced by the NYU Langone Health hospital on Thursday.
The eye was placed on Aaron James, now 46, who lost the left side of his face, his nose, his mouth and his left eye in a horrific industrial accident. While the new eye was being fitted, he also received a partial face transplant.
James cannot see through the eye, but the organ is connected to his bloodstream and his doctors say the blood vessels and retina are healthy. According to the operating surgeons, it is therefore not excluded that James will one day be able to see through the eye.
Before the operation, the surgeons did not estimate the chance that the procedure would be successful, something that James was fully aware of, he tells NBC News. ‘If it hadn’t worked for me, they probably would have learned something from it to help the next patient.’
The operation lasted 21 hours.