Often referred to as "tooth-in-eye" surgery, osteo-odonto-keratoprosthesis (OOKP) is just that - using a tooth to restore a patient's sight.
First described in the early 1960s by Prof. Benedetto Strampelli, of San Camillo Hospital in Italy, OOKP may be used for patients whose blindness is caused by irreversible damage to the cornea - the outer layer of the eye - and for whom other treatment methods have failed.
The procedure involves the removal of a patient's canine or premolar tooth and the surrounding bone; the technique uses the patient's own tooth as the body is unlikely to reject it. A hole is then drilled in the tooth and a plastic lens is inserted.
The lens-tooth structure is then implanted into the patient's cheek, where it grows new blood vessels over a few months. The structure is then removed from the cheek and implanted into the eye. Light is able to travel through the lens, restoring the patient's vision.
In 2013, The Telegraph reported on a British man who regained his vision after undergoing OOKP.
In 1999, Ian Tibbetts lost hist sight completely through eye problems first triggered by an accident at work, whereby a piece of scrap metal struck his right eye and damaged his cornea.
In December 2012, Ian underwent OOKP at the Sussex Eye Hospital - the only hospital in the United Kingdom that performs the procedure - and was able to see his children clearly for the first time.
Source: Medical news today