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HOUSTON (Texas): Two surgeons of the Houston Methodist Hospital — performed the world’s first eye transplant yesterday [April 22]. Dr Conrad D. Moore, leader of the operating team, said shortly after the transplant that he hoped that the nerves of his patient’s eye-socket would graft with those of his new eye. The hospital has still to make an official announcement.

“The Houston Post” said it would be three weeks before the operation could be declared successful. The newspaper named the recipient as photographist John Madden, 54, of Conroe, Texas, and the donor as 55-year-old Mr M.O.B. Hickman, of Houston, who died of a brain tumour. The paper reported that immediately after the operation the surgeons sewed up the patient’s eye-lid to help the transplant take. The Post reported that the eye was transplanted into Mr Madden’s right socket, but there was no indication as to which of Mr Hickman’s eyes was used.

The paper also said that Mr Madden underwent a corneal graft operation on his right eye two weeks ago, but that this was unsuccessful and it was decided to try a transplant operation. It cited Dr Moore as saying that a grafted eye was less likely to be rejected than a heart or a lung because the exterior of the eyeball contained relatively few blood vessels. He said that complete eye grafts had been performed on animals with a certain amount of success.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2019