Healthcare - Tooth Fairy Gives Sight!

Healthcare or sickcare ... some times we have to chalk one up for the good guy. Who would have thought that implantation of someones "eyetooth" , also called a canine tooth could bring back sight to a woman that had been blind for over nine years? You have to check this one out ...

A woman who has been blind for nearly nine years underwent a first-of-its-kind surgery that allowed her to regain sight... and doctors used her tooth to make it happen.

Miami Tooth Fairy Grants Blind Woman Sight
University of Miami performs the nation's first eye-tooth surgery to restore a woman's sight

Usually when you lose a tooth, the Tooth Fairy will put a quarter or some chocolate under your pillow. If you have rich parents, you might even get a dollar.

But for 60-year-old Sharron Thornton, losing a tooth meant gaining vision. That's some trade off.

Thornton, who has been blind for nearly nine years, underwent a first-of-its-kind surgery at the University of Miami recently that allowed her to regain useful vision in her eyes, and doctors used her tooth to make it all happen.
The procedure, called modified osteo-odonto-keratoprosthesis, implants the patient's tooth in the eye to securely hold a prosthetic lens. The surgery is usually recommended in only the most extreme cases when the eye is not a candidate for cornea replacement or some other type of corrective surgery.
"We take sight for granted, not realizing that it can be lost at any moment," Thornton said. "This truly is a miracle."

UM said Wednesday the procedure has never been performed in the United States. It was performed at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.

The name of the tooth that's selected is called the eyetooth because it's located directly under the eye.

Doctors said you can't see the tooth in the eye because it is covered by other layers, but the tooth keeps the lens stable and bonds it with the rest of the healthy parts of the eye.

Science fiction to us, but a miracle to Thornton and her family.

Thornton now has 20/70 vision and can recognize people and read tiny newspaper and magazine print with a magnifying glass. She will wear glasses the rest of her life, doctors said. Thornton said her greatest thrill so far has been seeing her three children and nine grand children for the first time in almost a decade.

And to think she almost wasn't able to have the surgery because she was going to have all her teeth removed a few years ago.

"When they told me I was like, 'Do What? You're going to put it where?'" Thornton said.

Thornton underwent the surgery around Labor Day. She had tried stem cell surgery and other procedures to restore some vision, which she lost because of an allergic reaction to medication. But all of the efforts failed until now.

"Being blind was horrible after seeing for 51 years," Thornton said

As I did further research on this I also found some Doctors that bash this procedure ...

However, not all surgeons feel positive about MOOKP.

A member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Dr Ivan Schwab, told CNN that they've known about MOOKP since the 1980s and view it with skepticism. It needs a large team and several operations, and although it seems to be reasonably successful on the small numbers of patients that have received it, it results in disfigurement.

Schwab said the procedure was just an "extreme variation on techniques we're already doing" and that the alternatives were nearly as good. But in defense of Perez and his team he said "they are working on the worst of the worst, people with no other alternatives".

Another doctor who brought MOOKP to England from Italy, Dr Christopher Liu from the Sussex Eye Hospital in Brighton, told CNN that he didn't think the procedure would take off in the US because it was too lengthy.

"Each stage takes hours to perform," said Liu , adding that although the person can see again, the eye does not look natural.

Well, I guess this is just another way of saying that if it doesn't make a physician a ton of money and "look" good it has no benefit ... LOL ... but just ask Mrs. Thornton ...

"I'm so thankful that the doctors at Bascom Palmer never gave up on me -- they kept searching."

Thornton said she was excited about seeing her three grown children and nine grandchildren, and rediscovering simple joys like playing cards and watching clouds go by.

"Without sight, life is really hard. I'm hoping this surgery will help countless people," she said.

Source: Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, CNN.

Written by: Catharine Paddock, PhD
Copyright: Medical News Today