IDF sniper's eyesight restored after 45 years

78-year-old former IDF sniper had gone to dozens of specialists over the years, but no one was able to restore the vision in his wounded eye.

eye 88 (photo credit: )
eye 88
(photo credit: )
A complicated ophthalmological operation has restored the sight to the left eye of a 78-year-old former former IDF sniper trainer who was blinded in that eye during military action in 1963. The patient had gone to dozens of specialists over the years, but no one was able to restore the vision in the wounded eye. The team that restored his full vision consisted of Dr. Daniel Brisko, head of the ocuplastics service at Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba and of the Ein Tal private ophthalmology hospital; Prof. Ehud Assia, head of ophthalmology at Meir and the medical director of Ein Tal, who is a world expert in cataract surgery. The patient came to Brisko's clinic suffering from severe eyelid distortion, continual tearing and chronic infection in the left eye. The lens in the blind eye developed a cataract and moved from its natural location due to a broad cut in many of the "strings" holding it in the center. In recent years, he suffered from paralysis of half his body and the visual ability of his right eye declined. Brisko consulted with Assia on whether the left eye could be saved, even though it has been useless for more than four decades. Brisko repaired the eyelid in surgery and improved its functionality and esthetics. Then Assia performed another operation to remove the clouded lens, implant an artificial one and repair the contorted pupil. The next day, the former sniper was able to see things he hadn't seen in 45 years, and a week later, he managed to see with 6/12 vision in the left eye. He can now drive his car with the left eye alone, the ophthalmologists said. The grateful patient said that he had been sure he would become totally blind. "I thank you for your stubbornness and skills. Thanks to you, I see a different world." The eye surgeons said it was not the first time they had restored the sight of people who lost it decades ago. "This treatment is possible only if the internal parts of the eye - the retina and the nerves - are normal. In many other cases, nothing can be done. But there are still numerous ones in which the eye believed to be lost can be saved with modern medical techniques that did not exist decades ago," said Assia.