Losing or lacking eyesight is one of the most difficult and debilitating physical conditions a person can experience. It is also one of the most difficult to treat. In fact, while modern medicine can replace a human heart with an artificial one with some success, up until recently medicine had little to offer those who suffered from vision loss.
That has all started to change with recent medical breakthroughs in vision surgical procedures. This week for the first time, a medical procedure was performed on young 13-year-old Jack Hogan to help him regain his sight. The results have been deemed a “miracle”. Doctors injected modified gene therapy into Jack’s eye on Tuesday to help correct an eye deficiency he had been struggling with since birth. Part of Jack’s blindness was caused by a missing gene that made his night vision, peripheral vision as well as many other areas of his vision all but non-existent.
The surgery was performed at Mass Eye and Ear and the procedure is considered to be a drug therapy which is given by injecting the modified gene therapy right into the eye. The procedure was done at only one of eight medical facilities in the country that has been given approval to perform this procedure. The new treatment is very costly at around $850,000. It is presently unclear how much of this typical insurance policies will cover. In Jack Hogan’s case his insurance has covered the cost of the procedure.
For Jack, there is no amount of money that could be considered too much to gain his eyesight. His mother calls the procedure “invaluable”. Jack is very grateful for his chance at this medical miracle. His eyesight has expanded tremendously already since just having the procedure. Doctors are unsure if he will have completely restored eyesight but he is able to see much better already. He has also gained some ability to see with peripheral vision. The full extent of his eyesight will not be determined until approximately a month after the procedure which will give him time to adjust to having clear eyesight.
The technology of this new gene therapy has been in the making for 20 years and Jack is the first person outside of medical trials to receive this procedure. He and his family are excited to see what the final results will be for him in a month from now. For long sufferers of genetic blindness, they are patiently waiting his results as well.