A team led by a Japanese eye doctor has succeeded in restoring the sight of patients by cultivating an artificial cornea out of membranes taken from their mouths.

Conventional grafts using corneas taken from donors can be rejected by the patients’ immune system, but the new operation could remove such worries, Jiji Press news agency said.

The team led by doctor Takahiro Nakamura at the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine performed operations on nine patients who lost their eyesight due to illness or injuries to the surface of the five-layer cornea.