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One of the biggest challenges doctors face with transplanting organs is the host’s body rejecting the new organ. That’s one reason people may have to wait a long time for transplants: finding a matching host is difficult. Furthermore, it’s much more challenging to transplant the human eye, so much more that it’s never been done before. But doctors are hopeful that the future of successful eye transplants is around the corner.

Currently, doctors can perform a partial transplant on the eye. These procedures are limited to the surface level of your eye. A cornea transplant is the most common option, followed by the more difficult — but still doable — eyelash transplant and amniotic membrane transplants. A full eye transplant is still beyond our reach, but advancements in technology over the next decade may allow it to happen.

What this means for you is if you are losing your vision, if you go blind, or if you were born blind, you may be eligible for a procedure to completely restore your vision with new eyes.

WHY ARE EYE TRANSPLANTS SO DIFFICULT?

Your eyes are the most sensitive parts of the body. They are filled with more than a million optic nerves. If one of these nerves is cut, it can’t be reconnected, so implanting an entire new eye is impossible. Doctors have no way of reconnecting the severed nerves from the old host’s eyes to the new host’s nervous system. Another challenge is how to connect the blood vessels so as not to pump too much or too little blood to the eye.

And to make matters worse, the eye would have to be transplanted quickly, as the retinal cells cannot survive long once the eye is removed from the original host.

SEEMS INTENSE. HOW CAN DOCTORS BE HOPEFUL EYE TRANSPLANTS WILL EVER BE POSSIBLE?

Right now, nerves can be regrown, though it is enormously difficult to do. However, growing nerves to connect to a new organ has never been done before. Specialists are currently researching methods to make connecting nerves to a new organ possible. This would be the biggest step toward opening the door for eye transplants. The timing of the procedure and the connecting of the blood vessels will still be a challenge, but not as absurdly hard as connecting the nerves.

You may be able to prevent the need for an eye transplant in the future by visiting your optometrist for regular checkups or whenever you experience vision problems. Don’t shrug off your eye health; be proactive so your doctor can help you now. Contact Silverstein Eye Centers today at (816) 358-3600 or request your appointment online. We can serve you at our convenient location in Independence/Kansas City.

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13 Responses to “THE FUTURE: THE POSSIBILITY OF EYE TRANSPLANTS MAY BECOME A REALITY”
  1. Jennifer Young says:

    I was wondering if my son would be eligible for a partial eye transplant?

    • Hi Jennifer – that’s a tough question to answer. Without knowing your son’s current conditions we couldn’t really tell you. However, if you’d like to make an appointment to have your son evaluated, we can certainly complete a comprehensive eye exam. That’s really the only way we’d know what type of surgery he requires.

  2. Surendra says:

    My both eyes destroyed in fire cracker explosion what about complete in all transplant in future

    • Surendra,

      We’re sorry to hear that your vision was damaged. We certainly hope that procedures like an eye transplant will become possible in the future, but as of yet, that particular technology hasn’t quite been perfected.

  3. Somayeh says:

    Hi
    My son is 2/5 year
    He have x linked retinoschisis problem on his both eyes
    His right eye wasdetached and cant see
    His left eye have haemorrhage and cant see as well
    Do you think eye transplant will help?
    Can you transplant the retina?

  4. Surendra says:

    Is nanotechnology can do iball transplant or can connect optic nerve

  5. Sohan Verma says:

    Hello there,
    My Cousin brother lost his one eye vision fully and second eye vision approx 80% lost. Is there any way to got vision? Doctor told me there are no any way to re-cover eye vision. Can we transplant eye?
    Please let me know.

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