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Tooth used to restore sight.

USA Today (9/17, Marcus) reports that on Wednesday, physicians from the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine announced that “they had performed a vision-restoring surgery that used” a “60-year-old patient’s tooth” to restore her sight. Over the Labor Day weekend, physicians there performed surgery that allowed Sharron Thornton “to see for the first time in nine years.” Following the surgery, Thornton “was able to see 20/60” instead of “only shadows,” surgeon Victor Perez, MD, explained.

The Miami Herald (9/17, Tasker) reports that during the operation, “surgeons removed one of” Thornton’s “teeth, drilled a hole in it, inserted a plastic lens into the hole, and implanted the tooth-lens combination into her eye.” As a result of this procedure, “the first such operation in the United States,” Thornton can now “recognize faces and read a newspaper with a magnifying glass.” Her physicians say “she should get better vision once she is fully healed and fitted with glasses.”

“The tooth and the lens were implanted under the patient’s skin in the cheek or shoulder for two months so they could bond, then they were carefully implanted in the center of the eye after a series of procedures to prepare the socket,” the AFP (9/17) reports. A statement from the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute explained, “A hole is made in the mucosa for the prosthetic lens, which protrudes slightly from the eye and enables light to re-enter the eye allowing the patient to see once again.”