A ONCE blind British man has appeared on BBC Breakfast TV telling of the amazing operation that used part of one of his teeth, inserted into his eye, to restore his vision.

The story of Ian Tibbetts, 43, who damaged his eye in an industrial accident, is told in the new BBC documentary The Day I Got My Sight Back, by filmmaker Sally George.

Mr Tibbetts said as a result of the operation his sight had gone from 'none" to about 40%.

He said when he first saw his son's faces it was "ecstasy". "I just cried," he told the BBC.

The procedure, called osteo-odonto-keratoprothesis, or OOKP, was the last resort for Mr Tibbetts after all other options had failed.

In the surgery the tooth and part of the jaw are removed, and a lens is inserted into the tooth using a drill. The tooth and lens are then implanted under the eye socket.

Once the tooth has grown tissues and developed a blood supply, part of the cornea is  removed and the tooth is stitched into the eye socket. 

"The tooth is like a picture frame which holds this tiny plastic lens," documentary maker Sally George told the BBC.

The concept is not new. In 2009, a 60-year-old woman told how a similar operation had restored her sight.

"People can't believe it," she said at the time. "Who in the world would ever think of taking a tooth out of your head and putting in your eye?"

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