This week’s retro look at the good old days was clearly seen. One hundred years ago, on December 7th 1905, Dr Konrad Eduard Zirm secured his place in history by performing the first transplant of a cornea. This was the very first successful human transplant of any tissue. The recipient was a 43-year-old labourer Alois Gloger, blinded in an accident when slaking with lime.
BBC News recalls:
The corneas came from an 11-year-old boy who had been blinded by deep injuries to his eyes.
The operation was a success, and the 43-year-old patient could see again. He retained his eyesight for the rest of his life and was back working on his farm within three months.
He transplanted corneas into both the patient’s eyes. To get around the lack of fine material to sew the cornea to the eye, he used strips of the conjunctiva – the lining of the white of the eye – prising up one end of a strip and using it to “tape down” the new cornea.
To cut out the cornea for transplant, he used a trephine, a circular surgical instrument with a cutting edge, powered by clockwork.
He then sewed the patient’s eyelids shut for 10 days to allow time for the cornea and the conjunctiva strips to “knit” together.
When he unstitched the eyelids, the graft in the patient’s left eye had taken – although the other had failed.
Dr Zirm, in common with other specialists across the world, had long been trying to achieve a successful cornea transplant.
Pretty amazing, indeed.
Much more at the BBC…
Read Dr. Eduard Konrad Zirm’s biography at Eduard Konrad Zirm Foundation…
The tribute by the Eye Bank Association of America…
Have a nice weekend! Thanks for stopping by.