DUBLIN (AFP) – An Irishman blinded by an explosion two years ago has had his sight restored after doctors inserted his son’s tooth in his eye, he said on Wednesday. Bob McNichol, 57, from County Mayo in the west of the country, lost his sight in a freak accident when red-hot liquid aluminium exploded at a re-cycling business in November 2005.
“I thought that I was going to be blind for the rest of my life,” McNichol told RTE state radio.
After doctors in Ireland said there was nothing more they could do, McNichol heard about a miracle operation called Osteo-Odonto-Keratoprosthesis (OOKP) being performed by Dr Christopher Liu at the Sussex Eye Hospital in Brighton in England.
The technique, pioneered in Italy in the 1960s, involves creating a support for an artificial cornea from the patient’s own tooth and the surrounding bone.
The procedure used on McNichol involved his son Robert, 23, donating a tooth, its root and part of the jaw.
McNichol’s right eye socket was rebuilt, part of the tooth inserted and a lens inserted in a hole drilled in the tooth.
The first operation lasted ten hours and the second five hours.
“It is pretty heavy going,” McNichol said. “There was a 65 percent chance of me getting any sight.
“Now I have enough sight for me to get around and I can watch television. I have come out from complete darkness to be able to do simple things,” McNichol said.