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The Doctors Lounge - Primary Care Answers

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Forum Name: Eye diseases (Ophthalmology)

Question: Eye Transplant


cgreenwell - Fri Mar 25, 2005 3:01 pm

Greetings:

My son was born 1lb 11oz back in 1995. As a pre-mature baby he suffered many surgeries and made it. However, he has optic nerve damage and he was diagnosed yesterday that he was legally blind. He does have scarring on both eyes. I believe the cornea but would have to make sure. Can you answer my questions below?

* Can he have an optic nerve transplant?
* Will a corneal transplant help him?
* How difficult or easy is it to get donors for this?
* Is there hope that someday technology will give him sight again?

Sincerely,
A desperate father

I understand from an article posted from your site:

"Eye transplantation is more correctly referred to as corneal transplantation, a procedure that involves exchanging the cornea of a damaged or diseased eye with the healthy cornea of a recently deceased donor.
The cornea is the eye's outermost layer. It is the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye. The cornea must remain transparent to refract light properly so that we are able to see.
A corneal transplant can help someone who has greatly reduced vision as a result of injury, disease or infection of the cornea."
a_medico - Wed Oct 04, 2006 11:15 am

cgreenwell wrote:
My son was born 1lb 11oz back in 1995.


Development of vision is a gradual process. First few years of life are too crucial. If the light rays doesn't reach the retina for some reason or the other, the vision is hampered permanently. Either partially or fully. You haven't mentioned whether he had vision loss since birth or it diminished gradually.

Quote:
As a pre-mature baby he suffered many surgeries and made it. However, he has optic nerve damage and He was diagnosed yesterday that he was legally blind. He does have scarring on both eyes.


Scarring most likely suggests involvement of cornea. Again, if it is since birth, it hampers vision development as no light reach retina.

Also, optic nerve seems to be involved due to whatever reasons. Optic nerve carries visual signals from eye to brain.



Quote:
* Can he have an optic nerve transplant?


No.


Quote:
* Will a corneal transplant help him?


No. Even if Cornea is transplanted, the rays will ultimately reach retina. And from retina it will need an optic nerve to carry the visual impluse from the eye to the brain.

Also I am not very sure about the status of the retina.

Quote:
* How difficult or easy is it to get donors for this?


There are many who donate their eyes after the death. Getting a donor shouldn't be an issue as such. But point is, is it worth it?

Quote:
* Is there hope that someday technology will give him sight again?


Theorotically - Maybe.

Practically - No.

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