Tooth implant in eye gives Australian man back gift of vision

A radical procedure involving a tooth implant has given an Australian man back his vision, allowing him to see his wife for the first time in years.

John Ings, from the New South Wales town of Goulburn, had been virtually blinded for years from childhood eye injury and a series of illnesses.

The revolutionary surgery involved removing one of his teeth and bone from his jaw, then putting a plastic lens inside the tooth and attaching it to his cheek.

After three months attached to his cheek, tissue formed around the tooth, enabling its own blood supply. It was then removed and placed in Mr Ing's old cornea, with skin from his mouth placed over it to seal it.

Tooth implant in eye gives Australian man back gift of vision
Mr Ing's tooth was removed from his mouth and put in his cheek for three months, enabling it to grow tissue (Goldcoastoms)
Tooth implant in eye gives Australian man back gift of vision
The tooth has a plastic lens placed inside it (Goldcoastoms)

"We rely on the tooth to gain its own blood and tissue supply so when it is removed from the mouth, what you have essentially is a living complex," Dr Shannon Webber, one of the two doctors who performed the surgery, told The Courier Mail. 

60 Minutes captured the moment the 72-year-old first opened his eyes following surgery to see his wife again for the first time in years. The couple broke down in tears as they embraced.

"Well, what do you see?" Mr Ing's wife, Berry, says.

Tooth implant in eye gives Australian man back gift of vision
Mr Ings was the first person n Australia to received the surgery (60 Minutes)

Mr Ings replied with just two words: "You're gorgeous." 

It was the first time the surgery has been performed in Australia, and since Mr Ings' operation, the same procedure has been performed successfully on 50-year-old Cairns woman.

Newshub.