Surgeons Perform World's First Eye Transplant

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    The Facts

    • A team of surgeons at NYU Langone Health has successfully performed the first-ever whole-eye transplant. Their patient was a 46-year-old military veteran based in Arkansas, who lost half of his face in a high-voltage electrical accident.

    • Aaron James, a utility line worker, lost his nose, front teeth, left eye, lips, left cheek, dominant left hand, and 20% of his tongue when his face accidentally touched a 7.2K-volt live wire in June 2021.


    The Spin

    Narrative A

    The first-ever whole-eye transplant is an undoubted success and harbinger of great developments in transplant medicine. The fact that James' body accepted the transplant and that he is experiencing various senses in his face shows how much progress has already been made. The NYU surgeons have made a tremendous breakthrough that could soon allow doctors to develop a process to restore eyesight.

    Narrative B

    While this feat should be celebrated, it shouldn't be treated as a revolutionary breakthrough as an eye transplant that fully restores vision is still distant a prospect, while the massive risks associated with such a procedure are yet to be reduced. James should be celebrated for his willingness to undergo experimental surgery; however, his transplant was more of a moderate step for science than a breakthrough.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that the first human head transplant will not occur before September 2047, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


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