Father of two who lost his eyesight in a horrific attack in London 20 years ago, has finally restored his vision after undergoing a groundbreaking stem cell treatment
- James O & # 39; Brien, 44, was sprayed with ammonia at the age of 18 on the way home
- Went blind in the right eye and participated in £ 92,000 NHS eye surgery
- Stem cells from the left eye were grown in the Italian laboratory for 6 months and replaced the right side
- Cornea was introduced a year later and its visibility was restored in June this year
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has approved the treatment
James O & Brien, 44, lost his eyesight at the age of 18 after being sprayed with ammonia in an unprovoked attack in Sutton, London
A father's eyesight has been miraculously restored more than two decades after losing in an acid attack through a clinical trial with stem cell treatment.
James O & Brien, 44, was sprayed with ammonia by a younger student at his school on his way home from the cinema at the age of 18 in Sutton, London – leaving him blind in his right eye.
At the time, his & # 39; face felt like fire & # 39; and he thought he would die with acid flowing into his nostrils and mouth. He was then rushed to the hospital where he spent two weeks on eye drops and other medicines.
But the father of two became one of the first patients to undergo a life-changing £ 92,000 eye operation at the NHS because he felt he had nothing to lose & # 39 ;.
The stem cells from his healthy left eye were cultured for six months in the laboratory in Modena, Italy, as part of the trial.
Surgeons at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London last year replaced the scar tissue from his right eye with the stem cells produced in the laboratory.
Here is James photo with wife Lisa in her wedding dress. He is one of the first patients to undergo life-changing eye surgery at the NHS. He says & appreciates the little things my wife and children can see clearly for the first time & # 39;
Stem cells from his intact left eye were cultured for six months in a laboratory in Modena, Italy and replaced the scar tissue of the right eye. About a year later a cornea from a dead donor was inserted and the medical procedure was completed in June
They gave the cells a year to adjust before they introduced a cornea and the medical procedure was completed in June.
The success of the operation & # 39; means the world & # 39; and & # 39; certainly have improved his (life) life & # 39; because he is an avid cyclist. More importantly, it is a & # 39; really positive & # 39; has had an impact on how he feels about himself.
James, who lives in York with his wife Lisa, said: & # 39; It's the little things that I appreciate the most, as my wife and children can see clearly for the first time.
& # 39; Before I could barely see the graph with all the letters on it, now I see the third line down and it just gets much better. & # 39;
Dr. Sajjad Ahmad, who performed the operation, said James & # 39; is kindly accepted to be the guinea pig & # 39; for treatment and because of the result they can offer it to & # 39; anyone who needs it.
He hopes to develop the treatment for people who are blind due to acid attacks and who have degenerative diseases.
& # 39; This is going to have a huge impact. Many of these patients are young men, so it affects their work, their lives, the people around them. & # 39;
James has a six-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son with his wife – and there were cases where other children would "back in horror" on the heavy scars of his right eye.
James and Lisa live in York with their two children and he said how restoring his eyesight & # 39; the world means & # 39; in the sense that he feels better about himself. He revealed how children used to recoil in his right eye & # 39; in horror & # 39;
Graphically illustrates how surgeons at Moorfield's Eye Hospital in London were able to restore his eyesight
James said that a passerby who hurried and poured some of the ammonia might have been able to save his left eye.
However, doctors told him early on that he was likely to have suffered permanent damage.
& # 39; It was traumatic to continue, especially at such a young age, & # 39; James added, and it was a case of & # 39; at the wrong time in the wrong place & # 39 ;.
He went on to identify the attackers he claims to have spent years in a Young Offenders Institute.
Prior to the operation, James' right eye was heavily marked, but part of the operation involved surgeons who ironed out the scar and made the damage there much less pronounced.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has approved the treatment for all eligible patients.
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