Miracle surgery performed for the first time in Karnataka to save a young woman’s vision

Bengaluru, March 02, 2018: A team of specialists at Sankara Eye Hospital gave 35-year-old Mamtha, a new lease of life. The woman was suffering from bilateral corneal blindness with severe dry eyes which made her completely lose her vision. The team of doctors at Sankara Eye Hospital who performed the surgery included Dr Pallavi Joshi, Consultant Cornea & Refractive Services, Sankara Eye Hospital, Bangalore, and Dr Vinay Pillai.

Mamtha wasleading a normal and happy life until she developed a drug reaction (SJ syndrome)and lost her ability to see from both her eye due to scared and dry corneamaking her life miserable and total dependent even to do her basic activities.

Afterconsulting over a dozen hospitals and institutes for surgery thatwould enable her to regain the eye sight, she would return back dejected due tothe complexity of the eye condition. Also, the lack of challenging surgicalexpertise and infrastructure that is required to give good outcome and regainher vision was missing. At this stage she visited us at Sankara Eye Hospital,Bangalore hoping to find any ray of hope to regain at least near normal life. 

“On arrivalof the patient, after a thorough investigation on her condition, we decided toperform a Modified Osteo-Odonto-Keratoprosthesis (MOOKP) which is commonlyknown as "tooth in eye" surgery. This is a surgical procedure torestore vision in the bilaterally severely damaged cases of corneal and alteredocular surface patients. We have a full-fledged infrastructure and highly competentteam of Cornea Surgeon’s, Dentist and Anaesthetists who together performdifferent types of Keratoprosthesis. This patient after thorough evaluation andproper counselling agreed to get this surgery of tooth in the eye, which tookus 9 months of the time period to complete consisting of 3 surgical stages of 3months gap between each. At the end of the final surgical procedure the patienthas regained 80% of her functional vision and is more than delighted and ableto do her daily activities independently again after nearly a decade.”said Dr Pallavi Joshi, Consultant Cornea & Refractive Services,Sankara Eye Hospital, Bangalore. 

In thissurgery, initial preparation of the ocular surface with oral mucosa is done&  patient’s own tooth is harvested and fashioned into which anoptical cylinder is incorporated, this complex is left to biointergate for 2months and later inserted into the cornea and covered with overlying mucosa,light passes through this  cylinder  and allows the patient tovisualise  objects.

This surgeryis a milestone in itself as it’s the very first such surgery done in Karnatakatill date and also a matter of privilege as it is done only in very few centresacross India also, hence providingthe much-needed service to such bilaterally corneal blind a new lease tovision. 

Cornealblindness that’s the inability to see due to loss of clarity of cornea is oneof the leading causes of blindness in our country. This may be due to manycauses like birth defects, infection and trauma. Nearly 40% of these can betreated with corneal transplantation from another human donated cornea afterdeath. But unfortunately, there’s another 10% of patients who have cornealblindness especially both eyes either due to chemical injury, post drugreaction, thermal burns in whom due to associated dry eyes and bad surface theydon’t do well with conventional transplants and their only hope to see isthrough artificial cornea also called keratoprosthesis. Though the surgeryis time-consuming with the inherent risk of complications, it is indeed very gratifyingto see the patient regain her lost sight and smile back. 

“Mamtha hasbeen suffering for almost a decade now. Many times we almost gave up and felthelpless when the hospitals we visited informed that surgery will not beeffective to regain her eye sight. She was always dependent on someone else tohelp her with daily chores. Today, the surgery has not only changed her lifebut has also changed our life drastically; she can see now. It is overwhelmingto see her smile. Our faith in God and the doctors at Sankara Eye Hospital keptus going and encouraged us to stay strong through the journey of 9 monthsthrough all the 3 surgical procedure.“ said Mr Satish (husband of Mamtha)


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