US Child Gets Prosthetic Iris

Surgery allows boy to see colors, corrects vision problems
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2008 5:22 PM CST
Thanks to his iris transplant, Nathaniel Brantley can now see colors properly, and his pupil can dilate normally.   (Shutterstock)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Surgeons in Cincinnati implanted a prosthetic iris this week in the eye of a 7-year-old boy, the first US child to get one. “It’s just like Mom’s,” said Nathaniel Brantley as he looked in a mirror. “Just like it’s supposed to be.” Born without irises, Nathaniel suffered a rare condition that prevented his pupils from contracting. Bright light hurt his eyes, he couldn’t focus well, and he suffered partial color blindness.

Nathaniel's family had to get special FDA permission to use the iris because it is still not approved in the US, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. If all goes well, doctors will repeat the process on his left eye in about a month. Nathaniel’s vision is improving so far; he was able to read the entire bottom line of an eye test after his surgery. “I can barely read those,” his mother said.