Tooth helps restore desperate woman’s sight

By | September 17, 2009

Kay Thornton, with Dr. Perez, can see again after surgery in which a tooth was implanted into her eye.Nine years of blindness almost drove Sharron “Kay” Thornton to suicide.In the end, it was one of her teeth and a procedure surgeons said was never before done in the United States that restored her sight.

“It was very embarrassing and humiliating for my daughter to take care of me, and it wasn’t supposed to be that way. I’m supposed to take care of her,” the 60-year-old woman told CNN on Wednesday.

“I thought about suicide, but then I thought, if I did it, I probably wouldn’t do it right,” she said. Instead, “I just asked God to help me. I couldn’t do it by myself. He taught me patience, and I never gave up.

“Her hopes were raised when she qualified at the University of Miami Bascom Palmer Eye Institute for a months-long procedure in which an eye tooth also called canine or cuspid was implanted in one eye as a base to hold a prosthetic lens. Her bandages were removed over the Labor Day weekend.

Nearly two weeks later, her visual acuity is 20/70 without corrective lenses in the treated eye, said Dr. Victor Perez, associate professor of ophthalmology, and a cornea specialist at the institute.

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