A new partial eye transplant speeds up healing and clears up vision faster than ever for patients with vision loss.
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Melissa Medley: The first sign came while practicing. 81-year-old LeRoy Geer struggled to see the chords on the page. Soon he cut back on driving and stopped reading when even large print turned fuzzy. LeRoy Geer: It was just so unnerving. You're just finally at the point where you're saying it's just not worth trying to figure out what that is. Melissa Medley: Both of LeRoy's corneas, the front clear part of the eyes were cloudy and swollen. Dr. John A. Hovanosian: Look right here at this ear. Melissa Medley: In standard treatment, surgeons' removed the entire diseased cornea through the middle of the eye and stitched in a new one form a donor. Now using a technique called DSEK, they replaced just the damaged inner layer of cells. The incision is small enough, it usually doesn't require stitches. Dr. John A. Hovanosian: The donor piece of tissue holds itself in the inside of the eye by the same forces that hold a contact lens on to the outside of the eye. But this internal contact lens of tissue never needs to be replaced. LeRoy Geer: E S O P. Melissa Medley: In the standard procedure results can take up to a year, and vision is often distorted. With the new transplant, vision is back in about six months with little to no blurriness. LeRoy tears up at the results. LeRoy Geer: I took a regular Reader's Digest and read it, eight days later. Eight days before, I had to stop reading the large print Reader's Digest. Melissa Medley: His hobbies never looked so good. I'm Melissa Medley reporting.