Friday, 20 November 2015

I can see you better!

Eric Boateng of Ghana, Africa, is a happy man today thanks to his eye surgeries by Dr Padmaja Kumari Rani in July this year. He had not been able to see anything for 2 years, when a Good Samaritan suggested that they go to India. Eric was escorted to LVPEI Hyderabad by his brother Ayyekum Samuel where Dr Padmaja Kumari Rani identified the problem to be retinal detachment in both the eyes caused by a rare blood disorder known as sickle cell disease.

Samuel recalls the doctor coming out of the operating room to announce that his brother's surgery was successfully done. Both the brothers rejoiced as they felt it was so marvelous. When the lights went out one night, Samuel made it a point to gently enquire if Eric could see him in the dark and pat came the reply, ''I can see you and I can see you better!'' Samuel says, ''So we were all laughing.''

After staying for 6 weeks in Hyderabad for the 2 eye surgeries, the brothers have returned to Ghana full of enthusiasm in anticipation of what life has on offer for them.

So that all may realize their full potential

22 year old Venkatesh Potluri, born with congenital glaucoma, first came to LVPEI’s Dr PRK Prasad Centre for Rehabilitation of Blind & Visually Impaired at the age of two. Though his vision is limited to light perception, he has completed his MS by Research following his BTech (Hons) from the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad.

What is inspiring and share-worthy about his story is that he achieved his academic accolades through audio rendering of text books as he was born blind; a great deal of grit, determination, parental support and dedicated professional efforts by the rehabilitation team going to make it all possible. He now feels buoyed and confident enough to pursue a PhD too! Thanks to his own spirit of persistence in realizing his goals, Venkatesh has also successfully explored his creative potential. Popularly known as the “drummer boy” for his remarkable skills at the drums, Venkatesh has notched up impressive performances with Hyderabad based rock bands, and even shared stage with the musical maestro A R Rehman as his group member.   

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The challenging case of David from Nigeria

David Osaretin NosaOtaren, 10, from Nigeria, had poor vision in both his eyes owing to congenital cataract and had undergone an unsuccessful surgery. On examination at LVPEI in August, it was found that he had retinal detachment and choroidal detachment in both eyes. His left eye was inoperable but Dr Vivek Dave and Dr Subhadra Jalali led their teams in conducting three challenging surgeries in a short span to salvage the vision in David's right eye, and finally emerged successful.

On follow up, both retinal and choroidal detachment were found to have resolved successfully with satisfactory improvement in vision. “We thank God for the team spirit evident at LVPEI that collectively worked tirelessly and selflessly to restore vision to David's right eye. On behalf of my husband Dr NosaOtaren, David's twin brother, and other siblings, thank you and God bless you,” says David's mother Mrs Toyin NosaOtaren.

Ankita can now complete her studies

Six months back, a mundane household chore left Ankita Jain, 18, of Pathria village in Madhya Pradesh, badly injured in her left eye with a wooden stick she had used. With her vision blurred completely, she consulted several doctors in Sagar but in vain. 

A doctor in Jabalpur, who was trained at LVPEI, recommended the institute so they promptly reached Hyderabad on 8 August 2015 where Dr Raja Narayanan successfully operated her for retinal detachment. 

“I am a farmer and can ill afford expensive treatment. Dr Raja Narayanan assured me that my daughter would be treated completely free of cost, and she was. The operation has been successful and now my daughter is able to see from her left eye. I am hopeful that she will complete her studies and secure a good job for herself,” says the grateful father.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Dry eye disease at menopause

Like several other menopausal women, Mrs Pithani Bhavani, 50, preferred hormonal treatment as she feared surgical removal of her uterus. The hormonal treatment alleviated her symptoms for 2 years but also triggered severe dryness in her eyes, causing discomfort, sensitivity to daylight and tears not forming even when she cried. For over 6 years, she lived in fear of losing her vision, not knowing that her hormonal treatment was the cause of her problem. A chance eye examination by an eye doctor who was treating her mother-in-law led to her being diagnosed with 'Dry Eye'.

She visited LVPEI Hyderabad in 2008 where Dr Muralidhar Ramappa gave her reassurance, along with treatment.

Dr Ramappa is appreciative of her discipline in taking her medication that has resulted in alleviation of her problem in just a year. Six years on, Bhavani has many reasons to be happy; she has become a grandmother in the interim, can go out in the sun, and can even shed tears! She is grateful to Dr Ramappa whom she refers to as mahanubhava (great or noble person).

70% vision restored, along with confidence

Yousuf Darwish from Oman was an accident investigation supervisor at a government company that made buses. When he lost his vision due to retinal detachment, the hospitals in Oman told him nothing could be done. He travelled to LVPEI in India and consulted Dr Vivek Dave who recommended surgery. Mr Darwish put his “complete faith in the omniscient Khidmat and His Own Representative, Dr Dave.” Three months on now, he reports 70% of his earlier vision restored, graciously extends good wishes to the staff and team of doctors, and is eager for the surgery to his other eye too. He gratefully recalls how the Institute's translator Mr Maqsud had communicated with the patient's brother and daughter on WhatsApp to reassure them of Mr Darwish's wellbeing.

Nilukshi can now keep her eyes open

Nilukshi Shamika Karunathilaka, 13, from Kiriwandala village, Sri Lanka, in 2011 developed dry eyes and sensitivity to light as a side effect to a drug she had taken for a body infection. A local doctor diagnosed Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS); there was no improvement despite a surgery. She dropped out of school; her father was compelled to forego his daily wages as a labourer to stay home and look after Nilukshi. He could ill afford the expensive eye drops required to induce artificial tears in his daughter’s dry and suffering eyes. Shamalka Perera, a fellow Sri Lankan, came forward to help them. She connected with Dr Virender Sangwan who assured free treatment for Nilukshi at LVPEI Hyderabad. 

Shamalka raised funds for the family’s travel and stay. In July, Dr Bhupesh Bagga successfully performed Mucous Membrane Grafting in the lower eyelids of both Nilukshi’s eyes and the upper eyelid of her left eye. As further treatment, the Contact Lens Department prescribed PROSE (Prosthetic Replacement of the Ocular Surface Ecosystem), Boston Scleral Lens. The major challenge throughout the treatment was the language barrier, as the family spoke only Sinhala. Shamalka would help interpret the several phone calls and emails from the LVPEI team. In the end, all the efforts have been worth it. Nilukshi’s vision has improved significantly and she can now keep her eyes open. The order for the lenses has already been placed and will be couriered to Sri Lanka, along with the instruction video and cleaning solution. 

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Recovering vision from acid burns

Ramanand Prasad Yadav worked at a glass factory in New Delhi. He toiled hard to earn enough for his large family of wife, four sons, a daughter, his parents, and his three brothers too, bearing the brunt of a family split over ancestral property. But in March 2015 all that changed when he was assaulted one night with acid by a group of ten men while going to his hometown in Bihar. Not only was he robbed of the Rs 3000 that he had on him, but he was also left there by the roadside, writhing in pain all night. In the months that followed, his brother stood in for him at work while his father escorted him from one hospital to another in Muzzafarpur and other towns along the India-Nepal border. A neighbour, who was a vegetable vendor, recommended LVPEI as he had undergone a surgery there.
At LVPEI, Dr Bhupesh Bagga and his team performed cornea transplantation surgery in Ramanand’s right eye using Aurokeratoprosthesis - an advanced procedure by which donor cornea is implanted and held in place by a tubular device connecting the front and back of the eye - after first separating the eye lids by the Ankyloblepharon release procedure. With this Ramanand will have sufficient vision restored in his right eye to function independently at home. Ramanand is grateful to Dr Bagga for achieving something which many other doctors could not, even as he worries that his wife eat a decent meal, his daughter study further beyond matriculation, and that his left eye be fitted with a prosthetic eye.

Shantanu’s troublesome dermoid

A limbal dermoid is a tiny skin coloured mass projecting from the junction of the white eye ball and black part of the eye. The abnormality appears at birth mostly in one eye but it may involve the second eye too in a third of children. It may lead to decreased vision for the child and be a cosmetic issue.

Shantanu Ghosh from Durgapur in West Bengal grew increasingly conscious of the limbal dermoid in his left eye when his classmates started teasing him. His parents Sutapa and Narayan Ghosh took him to Dr Ganguly, a former consultant with LVPEI, who referred Shantanu to Dr Muralidhar Ramappa at LVPEI Hyderabad. Dr Ramappa performed lamellar keratoplasty, extracted the limbal mass and transplanted a partial human donor cornea tissue to cover the wound. A year later, all sutures were removed.

Shantanu, who studies in Grade 4, has recovered well from the eye surgery, can close that eye completely now and has started wearing spectacles. He responds thoughtfully to say, “I felt no pain; it felt as if the stitches came out by themselves.” 

Experience of a lifetime

While pursuing his post graduation from Minto Ophthalmic Institute, Bangalore, Dr Akshay Badakare happened to attend a lecture in Hubli where Dr Ramesh Kekunnaya was a speaker and mentioned about the impressive comprehensive fellowship program at LVPEI. At the same time, Dr Akshay’s wife Dr Swathi Badakare attended EyePEP, a program for postgraduate ophthalmology students, hosted by LVPEI. The couple went ahead and applied for the three year comprehensive fellowship program at LVPEI.

“The fellowship program at LVPEI is at par with the international standards and undoubtedly the best in the country. Initially, it took us couple of weeks to adjust to the rigorous routine but soon things fall in place. I value not only the academic knowledge that I have gained, but also the important lessons that I have learnt in time management and work-life discipline at LVPEI,” says Dr Akshay. 

As part of their fellowship, the couple was posted at the peripheral centre, Y Mahabaleshwarappa Memorial Eye Centre in Bellary, Karnataka. “The real challenge at the new centre was to build a rapport with the community and gain their trust. This also made us aware of the various health issues faced by the communities. When Swathi saved a poor, elderly man’s vision by operating him for cataract in his only remaining eye, his entire family turned up to thank us. It was an overwhelming experience that we will cherish for lifetime,” recalls Dr Akshay.
Dr Akshay and Dr Swathi have completed their comprehensive fellowship in pediatric ophthalmology and glaucoma respectively in June 2015. They have decided to continue their journey with LVPEI and will soon be joining the institute as consultants. 

Monday, 6 July 2015

Durga Scores 9.2 in Class X

The Vision Rehabilitation team at the Bob Ohlson Centre for Sight Enhancement and Rehabilitation, GMR Varalakshmi Campus, is proud of their client N Durga Prasad who has cleared his Class X examinations with a 9.2 score.  Durga has had impaired vision since childhood due to Heredo Macular Degeneration, an ocular condition that causes permanent damage to the central vision. He craved to perform as well as his sighted peers in his academics, and from 2010, has been counseled and supported by the rehabilitation team where he trained on low vision devices such as the monocular telescope and cut-away stand magnifier that allowed him to copy from his classroom board and read from text books independently and efficiently. A grateful Durga acknowledges the team in his achievement, and plans to further train on computer skills at the centre so he can become a Chartered Accountant.

One month old baby regains sight

One month old baby Subham’s parents had brought him to LVPEI Bhubaneswar after noticing a whitening of his eyes. Dr Aparna Rao had performed Trabeculectomy surgery on the tiny baby. The child is now two years old, has regained vision and is doing well with the aid of spectacles, much to the relief of his grateful parents.

An Ambassador for a Cause

Mahadev Meher, a former lecturer and recipient of Best Youth Award for social service in Balangir District, Odisha, came to LVPEI Bhubaneswar for an ocular prosthetic for his lost eye. He is being treated by Dr Devjyothi Tripathy and is so enthused by the cause for eye donation that he has pledged his good eye, and wants to advocate the same in his village. He has even taken 50 pledge forms back with him to his village, with the intent of having them filled up and sent to LVPEI Bhubaneswar!

Vision Restored, Life Restored

N Manohar Reddy of Madanapalle in Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh, had developed an eye problem when in Class 7 that had left him blind and dependent on family members. He remembers the severe skin rash and clouded vision he had due to “wrong treatment” for an eye infection. After 15 years of living a compromised life, he was referred to LVPEI Hyderabad and arrived here with much hope, accompanied by his wife Shobha Rani. 

Dr Virender Sangwan implanted the LVP Keratoprosthesis in one eye in early 2015, and transformed the couple's outlook to life forever. Shobha proudly narrates how Manohar can now see up to nearly 10 metres with the operated eye and so can go out to grow tomatoes in the farm, and even see mobile phone numbers up close. For the first time, the couple has a hope of earning to sustain the education expense of their two schoolgoing sons, and to look forward to life in general.