Envisioning a New Future in Eyecare: Man Receives First Complete Eye Transplant Ever

Although surgeons have been able to transplant corneas successfully for years, the quest for a complete eye transplant has remained elusive. That is, until now.

Surgeons say Aaron James, who suffered a high-voltage electrical accident, is the first patient who has undergone the world’s first complete eye transplant on a man.

Although it is not certain James, a military veteran, will regain vision, this breakthrough is a pivotal moment in a decades-long search to restore sight to millions of people.

James, a high-voltage utility line worker from Arkansas, lost most of his face when it accidentally touched a 7,200-volt live wire in 2021. He had to have his left eye removed because of the pain.

A Dream Team To Do The Eye Transplant

In May of 2023, James underwent numerous surgeries. In all, more than 140 healthcare professionals were involved to help replace half of his face, provide him with a prosthetic arm, and – perhaps the most complex of all – the eye transplant.

The donated face and eye came from a single male donor in his 30s. During the surgery, doctors injected adult stem cells from the donor’s bone marrow into the optic nerve to encourage its repair.

Doctors say the donated eye is recovering well and looks remarkably healthy. The breakthrough surgery offers scientists an unprecedented window into how the human eye tries to heal. In fact, one of the reasons the doctors are most optimistic James may regain his sight in his left eye is that there is direct blood flow to the retina – the part of the eye that sends images to the brain.

He says he is “grateful beyond words” to the donor and their family for making the surgery possible and describes the eye transplant and its possibilities “life-changing”.

The future holds incredible breakthroughs and miracles for our eyes and vision. Even today, with the help of regular checkups and proper eyecare, maintaining healthy vision for our lifetimes is more likely than ever. That’s why regular eye exams are so important. The Vision Plan from NCRGEA and AMBA covers annual WellVision exams, 100% coverage for most lenses, even progressives, and thousands of nationwide in-network providers. Sign up today – acceptance is GUARANTEED! – at www.AMBAdentalvision.com/NCRGEA#vision or call 800-956-1228.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/surgeons-new-york-announce-worlds-first-eye-transplant-2023-11-09/

Using AI and the Eyes to Achieve Insights into Alzheimer’s

What if you could detect signs of Alzheimer’s disease 20 years before symptoms develop? With an incredible innovation harnessing Artificial Intelligence, researchers say they could unlock a new era in the diagnosis of this neurological disease that afflicts more than seven million Americans.

That number is predicted to rise, mainly because one of the biggest risk factors for dementia is age. For example, most people who develop dementia are over the age of 65. Dementia will become more common as the “baby boomer” generation ages into their 80s and 90s.

Researchers have studied individual hallmarks of Alzheimer’s, including brain inflammation and neurodegeneration, but the exact causes of the disease remain elusive. While there’s still a significant amount that remains to be understood about the brain and how it works, the power of AI can help connect the dots.

How AI Can Recognize Alzheimer’s Disease

One possible solution is to use machine learning to develop retinal scans and blood tests to identify people at risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The AI model analyzes eye scans for anomalies like the buildup of certain proteins or blood vessels with a twisted shape, that are associated with Alzheimer’s.

Currently, medical professionals typically use diagnostic tools like PET scans or spinal taps to help detect early signs of Alzheimer’s. However, these diagnostic tools can be invasive and expensive.

With AI, not only can the process of getting a diagnosis be sped up, but it can also be made non-invasive and significantly cheaper.

The AI reads scans from a camera that can be attached to machines already available in most optometrists’ offices. The optometrist would instruct the patient where to look and scan four or five images in each eye.

The camera measures a wider range of the spectrum than the human eye can see, allowing the AI to detect unique optical signatures that correspond with the presence of amyloid in the brain. In a recent study, the model delivered impressive results in seconds: an 80% accuracy in detecting signatures of Alzheimer’s.

AI and the Future of Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosis 🤖

However, there are still obstacles to overcome. The more information AI has, the more powerful it becomes. Medical data is comparatively scarce with a more limited sample to learn from. That means AI’s results can be easily thrown off. The goal would be to make the procedure part of an optometrist’s routine eye exam. And though the future will reap the benefits of this research, taking care of our eyes today is still essential. A good eye doctor can evaluate your eyes and catch issues early when they’re easiest to treat.  That’s why the Vision Plan from NCRGEA and AMBA is so important. The plan covers annual WellVision exams, 100% coverage for most lenses (even progressives!), and has thousands of nationwide in-network providers. Sign up today – acceptance is GUARANTEED! – at www.AMBAdentalvision.com/NCRGEA or call 800-956-1228.

Source: https://www.livemint.com/ai/is-the-eye-the-window-to-alzheimers-11696934785822.html