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NI woman undergoes rare ‘tooth in eye’ surgery

Honor Davis, pictured in her hometown of Bangor, Co Down. Credit: UTV

A Northern Ireland woman who has been battling blindness for almost 40 years has undergone a rare operation which involves implanting a tooth in an eye.

Honor Davis, 65 and from Bangor in Co Down, is understood to be only the second person from Northern Ireland to undergo osteo-odonto-keratoprosthesis.

Basically, the operation sees a tooth removed from the patient’s mouth, a lens inserted in the tooth, and the tooth implanted in the patient’s eye.

Honor lost her sight when she developed a rare skin and eye disorder, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, when she was aged just 26.

She was a young mother who suddenly could no longer see her six-month-old daughter.

“When they brought Kerry down to see me, that was devastating because that brought the reality of what was happening right home to my heart,” she recalled.

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Now aged 65, the faces of Honor’s children and grandchildren have been unfamiliar to her – so she sees the operation as the last chance to have her sight restored.

“I can't imagine what it will be like to see better, so that will be a lovely surprise, I think,” she said.

In the first phase of the procedure, carried out in England on the NHS, Honor’s tooth was removed and a hole drilled in it, before a lens was inserted.

That tooth was then embedded beneath her eye for several months.

The final phase - after the eye has been prepared - saw the tooth with the lens implanted directly into Honor’s eye.

Brighton’s East Sussex Eye Hospital, where the operation is carried out by Professor Christopher Liu and his team, is one of few places around the world where the procedure is available.

UTV has been with Honour throughout her journey and, over the next few nights, will document each step of the potentially life-changing process.

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