In a remarkable medical breakthrough, a surgical team at NYU Langone Health in New York successfully conducted the world’s first whole-eye transplant in a living individual, offering a new lease on life to Aaron James, an Arkansas resident who had suffered a devastating accident at work resulting in the loss of his left eye and part of his face.
This groundbreaking procedure not only restored Aaron’s vision but also included a partial face transplant, significantly enhancing his appearance and functionality.
For Meagan James, Aaron’s wife of two decades, the moment was an unexpected and emotional one. Gazing into her husband’s newly transplanted eye for the first time, she noticed the temporary post-surgery swelling and observed that the eye was brown, whereas Aaron’s natural eye color was ocean-blue. Additionally, she saw the remarkable transformation of his nose, lips, and cheek, complete with the beginnings of beard stubble growth. More than anything, she saw a face filled with gratitude, and at that instant, a flood of emotions overwhelmed her.
Meagan shared her feelings, saying, “It was a crazy, great, weird, strange, ecstatic, happy feeling. I was just happy he made it through, and everything was good in the moment.”
The groundbreaking procedure took place in late May, with a team of over 140 surgeons at NYU Langone Health working tirelessly for approximately 21 hours. The surgery involved transplanting an entire left eye and various parts of the face from a single donor, marking a historic milestone in medical science.