WHEN Mrs Jennifer Matcham, 64, came on holiday to Majorca with her husband in July, it was to take a break before undergoing pioneering eye surgery to correct her blindness. The surgery was a success, and one of the first things she did was look at the holiday snaps which husband Frank had taken. It was fantastic -- I was able to relive the holiday. I am one happy person, she said.
Mrs Matcham lost the sight in her right eye many years ago. She had cataract surgery in her one good (left) eye which was successful, until corneal problems developed last year and her sight deteriorated steadily until she was blind by the summer. But after her Majorcan break, she underwent a revolutionary new procedure developed by Michael Tappin, consultant ophthalmologist at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. Within days of the operation, she was able to read close to the bottom of the eye test chart without glasses. And look at her holiday snaps. The new technique is a refined version of the traditional corneal transplant in which the transparent surface of the eyeball is removed from a donor and stitched into the eye of the recipient. But patients have to wait up to 18 months until the eye settles down.
With the new technique only the endothelial cells from the innermost layer of the cornea are scraped off and transplanted, with no need for stitching and patients make a speedier recovery. It is called the TenCell treatment - true endothelial cell transplant.
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