Monday, July 6, 2015

UPMC exploring future of eye transplants

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Mark Roth

Jika Gonzalez Veteran Tim Hornik, 35, was shot in the face by a sniper in Iraq in 2004. It destroyed vision in his left eye and damaged it severely in his right eye.

Even if it takes another 20 years to become a reality, Tim Hornik said, he would be willing to volunteer to get an eye transplant at the University of Pittsburgh.

Mr. Hornik, 35, was shot in the face by a sniper in Iraq in 2004. It destroyed vision in his left eye and damaged it severely in his right eye.

In the years since then, he has participated as a consultant for the U.S. Defense Department in reviewing research proposals on treating war injuries, including the futuristic effort being led by transplant surgeon Vijay Gorantla at Pitt.

Dr. Gorantla, who has helped pioneer Pitt’s hand and arm transplants, is the first to acknowledge that it will be years before surgeons can attempt whole eye transplants in human patients. But he says the approach has a key advantage over other attempts to repair traumatic injuries to the eye, whether they have come from a roadside bomb, an industrial accident or a car collision.

The eye is so complex that trying to repair its internal parts is an enormous challenge. Continue reading

 

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