Sunday, September 20, 2009

Better Vision through Dental?

I'm not sure if everyone's heard of this tooth-in-eye procedure, or if it only caught my attention because of it's freaky-weird nature. Sharron Thornton, who was blind for nearly a decade, now has 20/70 vision because of this procedure, called osteo-odonto-keratoprosthesis, which has actually been around for decades.

I tried to do some research on this procedure, which involves a lot of steps, including building a tooth-lens combination, and having it implanted in the shoulder for it to heal, before it can be put in the eye.

I also tried to do some research on Benedetto Strampelli, the Italian doctor who came up with the procedure in the 1960s, but I couldn't even find a wikipedia article on him.

I am not a doctor; I am not even a scientist, but what I really want to know is, why use a tooth? I mean, then don't they have to replace the tooth (ok, I realize the technology to do this has been around forever), but why can't part of your hip bone, for instance, be used?

Don't get me wrong! I'm very glad this tooth-in-eye process has been successful for Ms. Thornton. I've been wearing bifocals since I was 22, so while I would never say that my situation is as extreme as hers was, I completely understand how detrimental losing one's vision can be. I'm all in favor of all procedures that improve vision. I just don't understand the tooth bit. How does one go about thinking up that? If anyone knows, or has any ideas about it, please let me know!

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