Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Saving the cancerous eyes of their little one

Little Saim Khalid, a one and a half year old child from Lahore in Pakistan had retinoblastoma, an eye cancer. He would have lost both eyes had his mother not brought him to Dr Swathi Kaliki at LVPEI who administered laser transpupillary thermotherapy (TTT) to Saim. 

At 6 months, baby Saim had been diagnosed with eye cancer and referred to an oncologist for chemotherapy. After an agonizing six months, the parents were told that the cancer was not responding to treatment and both the eyes would have to be removed to save the child’s life. Frantic enquiries by the mother then led the Abu-Dhabi based father to arrange for their travel to India. 

On their third trip in less than 4 months, Saim’s parents have been courageously facing visa delay problems, cash crunch, job insecurity and over an year’s separation from their two older children left behind with family in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). But the grateful couple is willing to continue to travel to LVPEI to complete the full course of Little Saim’s treatment.

A tooth for an eye!

Bhagyamma lost her vision nearly 25 years ago due to severe body rash as a reaction to penicillin injection that scarred the mucous membrane in her eyes. In pursuit of treatment to restore her vision, she eventually visited LVPEI in 1993 and continued her association with Dr Virender Sangwan. In 2010 Bhagyamma and her husband Lokha Reddy again came to enquire if she would be a suitable candidate for the MOOKP procedure a visiting US doctor was performing at LVPEI.

Modified Osteo Odonto Keratoprosthesis (MOOKP) integrates a prosthetic cornea with the hostile ocular environment of the severely dry, keratinized eye that can result from autoimmune disorders such as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a condition that Bhagyamma suffered from.  In the first stage, the patient’s tooth was harvested. The tooth and adjoining bone were cut down and a hole drilled through the center of the tooth root. An artificial cornea lens was fitted into the tooth and inserted under the skin of her cheekbone to allow normal tissue and blood vessels to generate around it. Three weeks later, this device was surgically removed from under her cheek skin and fitted to the front of her left eye to permit light to filter through to the retina or film layer at the back of her eye. A skin graft was also performed requiring a patch of Bhagyamma’s oral mucosa to be removed and used as a cover sheet for the lens-embedded tooth device to make the front of the operated eye look as natural as possible.
A day after the final surgery, Bhagyamma was thrilled that she could see again. She is immensely grateful to Dr Sangwan for facilitating the miracle of sight, and to LVPEI’s meticulous documentation process for detailed ophthalmic history, a prerequisite for the complex procedure. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Fuchs’ Dystrophy - My disease, my friend - a poem by Madhura Sengupta

Dear Dr Somasheila,
I sincerely thank you for your precious advice which has given me the relief and much needed confidence to cope with my problem in a city where the number of people who have the patience to hear your troubles is noticeably decreasing. The moment I saw you I was touched by the empathy you have for your patients, which no doubt extends much beyond. With you as my doctor I hope I can manage without an eye transplant for some more years. The day I returned to Calcutta after consulting with you, I wrote down my thoughts about my disease:

Fuchs’ Dystrophy - My disease, my friend
Madhura Sengupta

You came to me,
You stayed with me,
Have been with me
For years silently.

You sat on my eyes,
Never gave me a chance
To see you or know you  
But couldn’t hide for long
Or live a life forlorn;
You made your presence felt,
My eyes smarted and wept,
They turned red and even bled.

Good way to grab attention!
Went on to blur my vision,
You’ll rest on my eyes be sure.
Your place here is secure.

I give you word of honor
I won’t seek eyes from a donor;
This promise isn’t fake,
It’s no sacrifice I make.
I openly admit
From you I benefit.

They call you a disease,
But I can say with ease,
Though my eyes you do weaken,
My mind you enlighten.
You are helping me see life,
In a wholly different light.

Days unpleasantly glare,
Nights comforting n fair,
All objects seem so dull
Pale and unreal,
Only, shadows look real.
That dark could be so pleasant
I never knew before,
Death would surely stay a friend
Ever, evermore.....

Mahesh Thogari’s pursuit of excellence

Over a hot summer in 2010, security guard Mahesh Thogari's acumen was noticed by his seniors in the Security Department Shive Shankar and Nageswara Rao, who suggested he undertake the Vision Technician's course and make a new life. Overcoming financial constraints, Mahesh pursued the one-year course in LVPEI's Bausch and Lomb School of Optometry (BLSO) during 2010-11. He was then deputed as a Vision Technician in Singarayakonda Vision Centre in Kandukur in Prakasam District. He excelled in the 1 ½ years that he worked there, examining patients and educating them about eye care, prescribing spectacles, referring them for cataract surgery if required, and completing all orders for spectacles in time. 

Mahesh's proactive working style earned him a promotion in April 2014 as Vision Centre Coordinator at Sudhakar and Sreekanth Ravi Eye Centre in Markapuram, Prakasam District, Andhra Pradesh, where he supervises Vision Technicians in 7 Vision Centres located in that administrative cluster. His manager Dr Amol Sonawane reports that there has been a 340% increase in community vision screening this year compared to September 2013, thanks to Mahesh's deputation there. Owing to his stellar performance, he has been showcased as an employee extraordinaire by Chairman Dr G N Rao, and Mahesh eagerly waits to share with his father the frame of his photograph with Dr Rao, as soon as he gets back home in Kachapur village in Nizamabad district.

Dr Saquib finds comfort with piggy back lenses

Dr Saquib, a Radiologist from Srinagar, was using Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses to treat his Keratoconus in both eyes, diagnosed a year back. He experienced discomfort due to intolerance to RGP lenses, leading to limited wearing time and suffered from conditions like recurrent corneal abrasions and keratitis. He was also dissatisfied with the quality of vision since it did not fulfill the necessary visual requirements for his professional needs. 

At LVPEI, Consultant Optometrist T Shyam Sunder suggested piggy back lenses (RGP lenses placed over Soft contact lenses) with scleral lenses to be tried as a last option. Dr Saquib was overwhelmed with the comfort and quality of vision with the piggy back lenses, something he had struggled for since a year. He was also highly impressed with the skilled staff and the hospitality at the contact lens department. He is very thankful to Dr Pravin Krishna, Mr T Shyam Sunder and the contact lens team.