by Lindy West
on Thu, Sep 17, 2009 at 2:43 PM
PATRICK FARRELL / MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS
So.....Have you heard about Ole Nana Tooth-Eye yet!? That's her, to the left there—just a regular, garden-variety old lady with a regular, garden-variety old eyeball. OR SO SHE WOULD HAVE YOU BELIEVE.
But there's something verrrrrrrry unusual going on on the other side of this woman's face (photo after the jump). It doesn't make any sense, and it will destroy your brains, and you should prepare yourself now. Say goodbye to everything you ever thought you knew about eyeballs, teeth, little old ladies, human decency, medical science, and sharks! (Wait, not sharks.) Here we go:
A 60-year-old woman blind for nine years has regained useful vision after a rare operation in Miami in which surgeons removed one of her teeth, drilled a hole in it, inserted a plastic lens into the hole and implanted the tooth-lens combination into her eye.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I'm sorry. Are you still here? I had to bite down on this leather strap and have a seizure for a few months. More:
The multistage procedure began when Dr. Yoh Sawatari, a dental surgeon at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center, extracted Thornton's eyetooth, shaved it flat horizontally, drilled a hole in it and inserted an acrylic lens. He implanted the tooth/lens prosthesis under the skin beneath the clavicle at the top of her shoulder for three months so the combination could heal together.
A month later, surgeons removed a patch of skin from the inside of her cheek and laid it over her cornea to replace the moist tissue lost to the disease.
Two months after that, Perez extracted the tooth-lens combination from her shoulder, cut a flap out of the skin over the center of her cornea, cut a hole down into the eye and inserted the tooth-lens. He sewed the flap shut to hold in the prosthesis and cut a tiny hole so the lens can protrude a couple of millimeters out of the eye.
I have several comments.
First of all, HEY LADY! YOUR EYE IS A TOOTH. YOUR TOOTH IS AN EYE. Also, WHY DID THEY LITERALLY USE YOUR EYETOOTH TO MAKE YOUR EYE-TOOTH!? THAT IS UNACCEPTABLY LITERAL! Third of all, it is really, really awesome that you can see now. Congratulations! Science is the best. And finally, I REALLY AM STILL NOT CLEAR ON HOW A TOOTH BECOMES AN EYE.
If you can make a tooth into an eye using "a lens" and "a flap," why not use, like... A marble? A glass eye? Another human's actual eye? A finger? A tangerine? A tiny doorknob? Or, if we're sticking with the tooth theme, a little set of false teeth so that when you blink it's all "NOM NOM NOM"? Hahahahahaa. Anyway.
Shit is fucked up.
"I'm so thankful that the doctors at Bascom Palmer never gave up on me; they kept searching," Thornton told CBS. "I'm looking forward to seeing my seven youngest grandchildren for the first time."
I am an asshole.
Thanks to Ashley for telling me about tooth-eye, and for saying the words "tiny doorknob."