Innovative Surgery Enables Blind Man to See Again

A blind British man is no longer blind.

Ian Tibbetts can see again after surgeons performed a new procedure that drills a hole in one of his teeth and places a lens there. The lens is eventually implanted in the eye.

Tibbetts became blind in 1999 after a piece of metal from an oven hit him in the eye. His sight eventually dissipated to the point that he couldn’t see much of anything. He could only distinguish shadowy lines when looking at his children.

But now, thanks to this procedure, he can see again. He had this particular surgery after other treatments were unsuccessful. It is estimated that about 40 percent of his sight has returned.

Christopher Liu from the Sussex Eye Hospital is the only surgeon who is qualified to perform the procedure known as osteo-odonto-keratoprosthesis.

The body accepts the lens in the tooth because it is the person’s actual tooth. The procedure isn’t effective in turning back all types of blindness, however. A functional retina must be in place for the procedure to work.