First successful implantation of an artificial cornea in a blind patient in Europe

Thirty days after the surgery, the 59-year-old patient was able to regain some of her vision and her sight should be stabilized within a month.

The Rothschild Foundation Hospital announced on Thursday the success of the first implantation in Europe of a 100% artificial cornea in a blind person. Thirty days after the surgery, the 59-year-old patient was able to regain some of her vision and her sight should be stabilized within a month.

Suffering from a blinding corneal pathology, the patient was transplanted six times, but each time the transplants were unsuccessful due to rejection and severe infections. His severely damaged cornea had made him lose all his vision and his autonomy, forcing him to move with the help of a white cane and an attendant.

100% synthetic artificial cornea

She was able to benefit from inclusion in a clinical trial using a new generation artificial cornea. The grafted device is made of biocompatible synthetic materials, which gradually integrate into the cellular environment of the eye. This artificial cornea is 100% synthetic whereas previous versions required a human donor.

For Dr. Eric Gabison, ophthalmologist at the Rothschild Foundation Hospital who performed the operation, this simplifies the procedure since the prosthesis is available at any time (storage possible for more than a year at room temperature) and does not present the infectious and immunological risks of human bioprostheses and grafts.

“Faced with the global shortage of human corneal transplants and, for patients for whom the transplant fails, this type of artificial cornea presents a good alternative and a real medical innovation, because many patients will be eligible, including in countries which do not provide no infrastructure allowing tissue grafting. We will be able to transplant patients hitherto without therapeutic possibilities, suffering from severe corneal pathologies “, specifies Eric Gabison in a press release from the Rothschild Foundation Hospital.

“As with all innovations in their clinical trial phase, it is advisable to be cautious and to have perspective as to the results in the medium and long term, but this first intervention is particularly promising”, concludes the surgeon.

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