John Ings' tooth-in-eye real-life story to air on Channel 9

Goulburn man John Ings is the first Australian to have a tooth inserted into his eye in an attempt to fix his blindness. Photo: Brittany Murphy

Goulburn man John Ings is the first Australian to have a tooth inserted into his eye in an attempt to fix his blindness. Photo: Brittany Murphy

As reported in the Post last June, Goulburn man John Ings is the first Australian to have a tooth inserted into his eye in an attempt to fix his blindness.

Now, his extraordinary story has been picked up by 60 Minutes and will air this Sunday, April 16 at 7pm. 

It sounds like science fiction, but Mr Ings has had the surgery and is waiting to ‘see’ if the operation worked.

Mr Ings, 71, underwent a radical new surgery called osteo-odonto kerato-prosthesis (OOKP), a complex form of artificial cornea surgery used on patients with the most severe forms of corneal blindness.

It involves removing one of his teeth and cutting a piece of tissue from it, before drilling a hole, inserting a camera into it and implanting the tooth back into his right eye.

The complicated surgical procedure first and foremost requires planting the removed tooth into his cheek and leaving it until blood starts flowing through it. 

Surgeons then insert this into the old cornea and some skin is removed from the mouth and placed over the new cornea to seal it.

He has undergone the surgery in a series of four operations.

Mr Ings said his progressive blindness was caused by herpes simplex. “My vision has been getting worse over the last 16 years to the point where I can’t see out of my right eye and hardly at all out of the left eye,” he said.

“The herpes simplex virus has chewed through the cornea over the years.”