Roughly 40,000 human cornea transplants are done in the United States, and donor tissues are in short supply. Worldwide, 450 procedures have been done with AlphaCor products, which received FDA approval in 2002. “There have been hundreds of each implanted in the United States, but it still remains a rarely performed surgery,” said Anthony Aldave, director of cornea service and assistant professor of opthamology at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA’S David Geffen School of Medicine. “My preference is the Boston kerato-prosthesis – it flattens out, works better. I’ve implanted both, and the (Boston) provides better visual outcomes for patients, I believe.” Aldave, who has been at the institute since 2002, said he’s pleased to see more procedures being done with the artificial units and praised Helm. “He’s an excellent experienced surgeon,” he said. Montante, whose vision could be restored to 20/25, should slowly regain his sight after the bandage is removed today. firstname.lastname@example.org (661) 257-5255 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The artificial implant is an option for patients who are diagnosed as clinically blind. In the operation, Dr. Craig Helm split Montante’s cornea, removed a “window” in the back section of the diseased cornea and inserted the artificial cornea. Follow-up surgery will be needed in three months to remove a “window” in the front part of the cornea. “Then, the patient is looking through only the artificial cornea,” said Helm, the only corneal surgery specialist in the Santa Clarita Valley. “I’m really excited about this new option for patients like Mr. Montante. This gives us the opportunity to restore vision for patients who have no other good alternatives.” AlphaCor, which manufactures the implant, says the procedure is optimal for patients like Montante who have rejected human corneas. While 10 million people worldwide are blinded by corneal failure, surgeons only perform about 100,000 corneal transplants a year, according to the World Health Organization. SANTA CLARITA – A Moorpark man who slowly went blind in one eye over the past few years is expected to see again after an artificial cornea was implanted Wednesday afternoon in the first surgery of its kind in the Santa Clarita Valley. The outpatient procedure at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital took one hour, and health officials said there were no complications. “If everything goes well … I should be able to read properly, be able to drive myself again – my wife usually drives me now – I’ll be able to do more things myself,” said John Montante, 70. “I feel fine right now, I feel great, I’m optimistic. We have a lot of people praying for me.” Montante’s vision began to deteriorate about three years ago when glaucoma set in. Cataract surgery was performed on his right eye, and his body rejected two previous human cornea transplants.