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Groundbreaking new stem-cell treatment

Groundbreaking new stem-cell treatment recovers sight for acid attack victim

Saturday 14 September 2019

An acid attack victim has become the first UK citizen to undergo a new treatment to restore his vision.

James O’Brien was 18 years old when he was the victim of an acid attack. O’Brien had ammonia sprayed into his face, causing him to go blind in his right eye as a result.

Now over twenty years later, he has made history becoming the first UK patient to have a brand new stem-cell treatment in an attempt to restore his vision.

Surgeons at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London used the stem cells to replace the scar tissue in the damaged eye. The procedure has taken decades to develop, but was worth the wait it seems, as O’Brien has said he can finally see his wife’s face with both of his eyes.

Saj Ahmad of Moorfields eye hospital explained the new procedure,

“What we do is we take a small biopsy of 1-2 mm from the healthy eye and we remove the scar tissue from the blind eye and repopulate it with this stem-cell transplant.”

Over the past year since the surgery, O’Brien has had further treatment to help the process with Mr Ahmad stating before the surgery,

“He has at least a 75% chance if not higher that it’ll work. So, he has more chance that it will work than it not.”

Many physicians are hopeful of the new surgery and are keen to try and apply it more regularly so it can help more acid attack survivors, then further in the future to potentially aid people with eye conditions like cataracts.


  1. Good News Network.
  2. BBC.



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