Patient who received the surgery is able to see for the first time in 12 years.
Bangalore, March 1, 2018: Karnataka achieved a milestone after a team of doctors led by Sankara Eye Hospital, Bangalore performed “tooth in the eye” surgery to treat bilateral corneal blindness for the first time.
Dr Pallavi Joshi, one of the doctors with the cornea and refractive services at Sankara Eye Hospital explained, “The cost of the treatment is nearly two lakh rupees out of which only a third is borne by the patient. The treatment for the first patient is subsidized. To arrange for the equipment and the human resources required, the total investment is nearly 20-25 lakh rupees.”
The nine-month-long treatment includes three surgical stages which are three months apart. The treatment was given to Mamtha, 35, who lost her vision after developing a drug reaction known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome. She sought medical treatment from a dozen hospitals which could not help due to the complex nature of her condition, lack of surgical expertise and the infrastructure required.
Corneal blindness is a medical condition where blindness is caused due to the cornea losing its visual clarity. This can be due to birth defects, infection, or trauma. Four in ten cases can be treated with a corneal transplant. If the patient’s eyes reject a transplanted or artificial cornea, “tooth in the eye” surgery is done which implants the patient’s tooth in the eye to support a prosthetic lens and restore vision.
Sateesh, Mamta’s husband, is happy with the treatment as she is able to see after 12 years. Sateesh said, “While we were searching for a suitable treatment in Bengal, a doctor suggested visiting Bangalore. My wife will be able to see after 12 years and I am really happy as earlier I used to do everything for her including basic daily activities.”
Dr Umesh Mahanta, Chief Health officer at Sankara Eye hospital mentioned, “There is a need to direct of the patients to the hospitals suffering from various diseases. In case of complex conditions like corneal blindness, patients usually lose patience. So, to cure these, we need financial and moral support.” “For conventional surgeries, the union government and the institutions around are taking in a lot of contributions through eye donation camps. In the past ten years, the number of donations has been showing great improvement. Also, the waiting list has gone down by 15 days to one month,” he added.
The expense of the treatment was split between Rotary Club, Bangalore and Sankara Eye Hospital. The contributions were 40 per cent of the expense from the Rotary Club and 60 per cent from Sankara Eye.