The Royal Victoria Eye & Ear Hospital in Dublin has performed the first successful stem cell tissues transplant eye operation in Ireland. This was carried out in collaboration with researchers at Dublin City University.
The recipient was Patrick Godfrey, 46, from Co Tipperary. Godfrey’s eye sight has been deteriorating, and underwent the hour-long operation in an attempt to help restore his vision.
Dr. William Power, lead ophthalmic surgeon at Royal Victoria, was in charge of the procedure, and hopes to complete 6 more just like it by the end of the year.
The stem cells used in the operation were grown at the eye bank of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service. They only take a few weeks to grow, and are key in restoring eyesight for millions of people.
After the surgery is completed, the recovery period can last up to six weeks. Afterwards, with a follow up exam, doctors will be able to know exactly how well the procedure worked towards reversing years of damage caused by a genetic condition Godfrey has had since birth.
Only Godfrey’s right eye was operated on and infused with stem cells. His left eye was lost years ago, and he wears a prosthetic eye in its place.
His desired outcome from this experimental surgery is to have more independence, and to be able to have a better quality life, without the severe limitations that come with advanced visual impairment.
The operation has been also possible due to the collaboration with researchers at Dublin City University. Mr. Power said he hoped that around six such operations could be performed here this year.