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Legally blind man regains his sight after 10 YEARS following the first successful artificial cornea treatment that could treat millions worldwide suffering with corneal blindness

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  • A man, 78, regained sight after 10 years following a cornea transplant
  • The device takes the place of the cornea  and is fitted with  biomimetic material
  • This stimulates cellular proliferation, leading to progressive tissue integrations 
  • Following the surgery, Jamal Furani recognized faces and read a numbers chart

Jamal Furani, 78, lost his sight 10 years ago due to corneal disease, but thanks to modern science, the Israeli man is able to see once again.

Furani received an artificial cornea implant that integrated directly into the eyewall and following the one-hour surgery, he was able to recognize family members and read numbers on an eye chart.

The implant, called KPro, is a non-degradable synthetic nano-tissue that is placed under a thin membrane that covers the surface of the eyelid and the sclera, which is the white area of the eye.

The top layer of KPro is designed with biomimetic material that 'stimulates cellular proliferation, leading to progressive tissue integrations,' according to the implant's maker CorNeat.

Jamal Furani (seated) lost his sight 10 years ago due to corneal disease, but thanks for modern science, the Israeli man is able to see again. Furani received an artificial cornea implant that integrated directly into the eyewall and following the one-hour surgery, he was able to recognize family members and read numbers on an eye chart

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Jamal Furani (seated) lost his sight 10 years ago due to corneal disease, but thanks to modern science, the Israeli man is able to see again. Furani received an artificial cornea implant that integrated directly into the eyewall and following the one-hour surgery, he was able to recognize family members and read numbers on an eye chart

The procedure was performed on January 11 by Professor Irit Bahar, the head of the ophthalmology department at Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, Israel.

The medical facility conducted the first human trials of CorNeat's KPop, a total of 10 patients, which received approval just last July, Israel Haymon reports.

The patients in the trial suffered from corneal blindness and deemed either not candidates for or have experienced at least one failed cornea transplant.

Corneal blindness is due to disease developing in the cornea that results in vision loss.

The implant, called KPro, is a non-degradable synthetic nano-tissue that is placed under a thin membrane that covers the surface of the eyelid and the sclera, which is the white area of the eye

The implant, called KPro, is a non-degradable synthetic nano-tissue that is placed under a thin membrane that covers the surface of the eyelid and the sclera, which is the white area of the eye

It affects two million people each year and accounts for more than five people of the total blind population worldwide. 

The first step of the procedure, which takes less than an hour, is to dissect the conjunctiva - the mucous membrane that covers the front of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelids.

The corneal epithelium is then completely removed to decrease the prevalence of retro prosthetic membrane formation and the center of the cornea is marked by the surgeon, allowing them to place a stamp on the surface for where the implant will sit.

The implant is then laid over the open area of the eyeball and secured by the stitching and snapped in place. 

Incisions are made around the cornea, along with stitching to attach the implant, and then the cornea is removed.

CorNeat says regeneration of cells begins and then in weeks, the implant is permanently embedded in the patient's eye.  

Dr. Gilad Litvin, chief medical officer at CorNeat Vision and the inventor of the KPro device, said the implantation procedure is 'relatively simple' and takes less than an hour. 

The transplant procedure took less than an hour. Pictures is the artificial cornea (top) and the tools used during surgery (bottom)

The transplant procedure took less than an hour. Pictures is the artificial cornea (top) and the tools used during surgery (bottom)

Incisions are made around the cornea, along with stitching to attach the implant, and then cornea is removed. CorNeat says regeneration of cells begins and then in weeks, the implant is permanently embedded in the patient's eye

Incisions are made around the cornea, along with stitching to attach the implant, and then the cornea is removed. CorNeat says regeneration of cells begins and then in weeks, the implant is permanently embedded in the patient's eye 

He also said that KPro could help millions of blind patients worldwide, as the treatment does not require donor transplants and can be done in areas with no corneal practice.

Litvin said he was thrilled with the results, saying it 'surreal' that the team had made a world-first achievement and that it was making waves in the field of organ transplantation.

'After years of hard work, seeing a colleague implant the CorNeat KPro with ease and witnessing a fellow human being regain his sight the following day was electrifying and emotionally moving, there were a lot of tears in the room,' Litvin said.

'This is an extremely important milestone for CorNeat Vision, key in our journey to enable people around the world to fully enjoy their vision potential.

'I am grateful and honored to work with an outstanding group of people whose hard work, diligence and creativity, made this moment possible.'

Corneal transplants are common procedures to restore eyesight but they can only be done with a donor cornea, for which demand is high — while pig corneas are a viable solution, the team's success with this procedure could prove life-changing for many.

5 Comments

  • David Fields

    David Fields

    9:53 PM, 06-02-2021

    This might be able to help people with kerataconis as well!

    Reply
  • L.

    L.

    8:37 PM, 26-01-2021

    Amazing! See what people can accomplish when using their talents for good! 👍😷

    Reply
    • Ray

      9:53 PM, 28-01-2021

      Yes it is Lowell we just all need to be more together so we can achieve these amazing advances.

  • Sylvie

    Sylvie

    8:02 PM, 24-01-2021

    That's really amazing. Hope it will help more blind persons!

    Reply
    • Ray

      9:55 PM, 28-01-2021

      No reason for it not to Sylvie the more we advance in these types of scientific and medical discoveries the more people that can be helped. The best is yet to come.

  • Suvir

    Suvir

    10:21 AM, 24-01-2021

    Wow that’s amazing

    Reply
    • Ray

      9:56 PM, 28-01-2021

      Sure is mate, reminds me of all the wonderful work that was done by Dr. Hollowes.

  • Bubacarr

    Bubacarr

    1:10 AM, 23-01-2021

    This is a good news and a great achievement

    Reply
    • Ray

      9:57 PM, 28-01-2021

      Yes, it is most certainly.

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