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Tooth Implant in Woman's Eye Helps Her See Again

A 60-year-old Mississippi woman can finally see again after nine years of blindness.

Earlier this month, surgeons implanted Sharron “Kay” Thornton’s tooth inside her eye, which holds a prosthetic lens in place, according to a news release.

The procedure, known as modified osteo-odonto-keratoprosthesis, or MOOKP, took place at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Although the procedure has been available at some eye clinics in Europe and Asia, this is the first time a patient has had the procedure done in the U.S., said Dr. Eduardo C. Alfonso.

Thornton lost her eyesight in 2000, the result of a skin condition known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome, which destroys the cells on the eye’s surface and leads to scarring of the cornea.

“This is truly a miracle,” said Thornton, who is also looking forward to seeing her grandchildren.

Doctors implanted Thronton’s canine tooth, ironically known as her “eyetooth.”

Just a few hours after the surgery, Thornton recognized faces. Within two weeks, she was reading newsprint with a visual acuity of 20/70. As the scars heal, her sight will continue to improve.

"Without sight, life is really hard. I'm hoping this surgery will help countless people," Thornton said.

Click here to learn more about MOOKP and Thornton.