Thursday, 14 April 2016

First ever corneal transplantation at a secondary centre

Shaik Bibi, 65, a mother of four from Tenali, came to LVPEI’s Secondary Centre in Sattenapalli with diminishing vision in her left eye after a cataract surgery 6 months ago. She was diagnosed with left eye Pseudophakic Bullous Keratopathy. She was further referred to KAR campus, Hyderabad for left eye corneal transplant procedure - DSEK - under local anaesthesia. She expressed reluctance to travel as she was dependent on her children and was living off her meagre pension money. "Hence, we decided that if the patient cannot access the benefits of the available facilities for corneal transplantation, the facilities can be brought to her," said Dr Pravin K Vaddvalli.

Sight restoring corneal transplantation surgery is traditionally done in advanced surgical centres, mainly located in large cities. This makes it hard for patients from the remote rural interiors to travel to the cities and stay for the duration required. Often, it is economically a double whammy for them as they have to not only summon the financial resources for travel, stay and treatment, but also forego their daily wages as agriculture labourers, as also the wages of the person accompanying them.

So LVPEI created history by conducting a Corneal Transplantation surgery – a complex eye surgery – at its secondary eye care centre, the Edward and Soona Brown Eye Centre, at Dhulipalla village in Sattenapalli Mandal, Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh on 28 March 2016. The centre’s first ever corneal transplantation was performed on Shaik Bibi by the surgical team of expert doctors from the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute of LVPEI and the ophthalmologist in Dhulipalla centre. The corneal donor tissue for the procedure was carefully transported from LVPEI’s Ramayamma International Eye Bank in Hyderabad. The doctors stationed at Dhulipalla have been trained to take care of post operative care of corneal transplant patients. Thus the patient need not travel anywhere else at all. What’s more, the patient could even return home the same day after the transplant, thus saving time and resources for her family.

This secondary centre which was established in January 2015 is already providing high quality comprehensive eye care services to individuals with diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and children with eye problems.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Light at the end of the tunnel

In Kamalapuram village of Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh lives 24 year old Thenneru Rajesh; who on the one hand, has to deal with a problematic skin disease and on the other hand, deals with loss of vision. Born with a skin disease called Xeroderma pigmentosa, his skin had become thickened and marbled and he could not bear to go out even in mild sunlight.

Rajesh, an unfortunate victim of this intractable genetic disease, had to forego schooling. His father Aandaala Rao, helpless seeing the plight of his son, tried all the available remedies that was suggested to him including local herbal remedies. Aandaala Rao had to face many financial hardships for his son’s treatment. However Rajesh’s condition worsened and he lost his vision in the interim. Rajesh found it difficult to even work in the fields along with his father because of his vision.

Just as life’s troubles were becoming unbearable for Rajesh, help arrived. A relative working in a private hospital in Vijayawada came to know of LVPEI’s Kode Venkatadri Chowdary campus and advised him to consult the eye specialists there. Dr Mahesh Kalyankar, who first examined Rajesh in November 2014, vowed to restore at least some of the vision that Rajesh had lost. After a corneal transplantation in his right eye, Rajesh’s joy knew no bounds. He got back some of his lost vision. His father takes a lot of pride in watching over Rajesh as he is being prepared for his left eye surgery soon.

Happy to Start Working Again

Bobbili Sanyasirao was working in a small hotel in Chodavarm village, Visakhapatnam, Andha Pradesh on daily wages. One day he accidentally hurt his eyes and it resulted in severe redness and swelling. The local chemist prescribed some eye drops. Rather than doing any good, the drops aggravated the problem. His vision reduced and his cornea started turning white. He underwent a surgery performed by a local ophthalmologist, but the results were not positive. In 2015, he experienced vision loss in his left eye as well. He was then advised to visit LVPEI’s GMRV Campus in Visakhapatnam. A corneal transplantation surgery was performed by Dr Merle Fernandes. “I will be forever indebted to LVPEI for giving me back my vision and my financial independence. My vision has improved drastically and I have now started my own flower shop” says Bobbili.

Overcoming the challenges of a Corneal Transplantation

Konala Bhaskar Rao, 41, agricultural labourer from a remote village of Kapileswarapuram on the banks of the Godavari, Andhra Pradesh sustained injuries in his left eye while working in his field. This resulted in corneal ulcer for which he underwent a corneal transplantation at LVPEI’s KVC Campus, Vijayawada. Despite the day-to-day difficulties he faced in carrying out his daily work, and travelling 250 kilometers for the frequent follow up visits to the hospital and the medication, he and his family bravely overcame all the challenges that a patient of corneal transplantation faces. When he was indisposed, his wife took charge of taking care of the family. With regular checkups and nearly 20 follow up visits spanning over one and half years, difficulties of maintaining a graft and a subsequent cataract surgery, today his vision is completely restored. Now he is able to confidently carry out all his work and take care of his family. 

My Life has Changed

More than twenty years ago, Jan Ros was in an accident at his own factory. A composite pipe exploded and some chemicals landed in his eyes. He felt as if his eyes were burning and there was an intense pain in them. His eyes could not stand light anymore, and from that moment, no matter what time of the day, he always had to wear sunglasses everywhere he went. And even then, with sunglasses on and with his hands covering his eyes, there was still the immense pain when light shone into his eyes. He went to a hospital in the Netherlands, but the doctors did not know how to deal with his problem. They gave him eye drops and some treatment but it did not help.

Seven years later, he had another accident. While playing with two young children, one of them accidently stabbed him in the left eye with his pen. Jan’s cornea split, and because his cornea was already unhealthy because of the chemical injury seven years earlier, the doctors in the Netherlands told him that there was nothing they could do for him. He went online, found a hospital in London that could repair his cornea using stem cell therapy, but had to wait for a whole year as there was a waiting list. Meanwhile, his vision remained very low and even everyday simple tasks were a huge challenge. After waiting for a year the doctors still could not help him. A disappointed Jan went searching on the internet again. This time he found LVPEI.
He emailed LVPEI photos of his eye was not expecting anything much, but Dr Sangwan replied, saying that Jan had to come to Hyderabad for evaluation. This was enough reason for Jan to go on a 10-hour flight all the way to Hyderabad. Jan did not know anything about the procedures in India, nor did he know Dr Sangwan. However, after the clear information Dr Sangwan gave him, he was so confident in Dr Sangwan’s ability that he decided to get his operation done at LVPEI. Instead of a year long waiting list, his eye could be operated the same week. The surgery succeeded and Jan had his vision back. For the first time in twelve years he was able to have eye contact with people, without wearing sunglasses. And because he had always been wearing sunglasses for the last twelve years, his friends did not even recognize him when he came back without his sunglasses!

Even now, for his check-ups he still comes all the way to Hyderabad. The good services, the friendly people and knowledgable doctors always make him return to LVPEI!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

A delightful return of vision

Sheikh Abdul Hameed was compelled to seek voluntary retirement from his job at a dairy factory, owing to his failing vision. After a local doctor in Kurnool referred him to LVPEI, he underwent glaucoma surgery in his left eye that allowed for the restoration of some vision, and diligently sought follow up care with Dr Anil Mandal for nearly a decade. Unfortunately in September 2014, his only seeing eye was hit by a stone as he was watching some children at play. The injury led to infection and cataract (loss of transparency in the eye lens) and he had to be operated upon for cataract removal. Dr Mandal also referred him to Dr Muralidhar Ramappa to see if anything could be done about his right eye that had developed a white opacity for over 10 years.

Dr Ramappa performed two surgeries to Hameed’s right eye; corneal replacement and cataract removal respectively. To Hameed and his wife’s sheer delight, vision was indeed restored in his right eye. Hameed is thrilled to be able to lead an independent life in his autumn years, even as he wonders as to his premature decision to seek voluntary retirement, losing 11 earning years!

Rehabilitating lives

Viyyapu Naresh works as Junior Assistant with the Visakhapatnam Forest Department and draws a monthly salary of Rs 12,000. What is commendable is his journey to this happy situation. Diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) at a very young age, his visual acuity was limited to 20/100 in both eyes. Right from reading and working on the computer to recognizing faces and moving around independently, everything was a huge challenge for him. The Vision Rehabilitation team at LVPEI's GMR Varalakshmi campus, Visakhapatnam, played a key role in shaping his personality and career. In addition to the mobility training he received, he was also trained on how to use JAWS - a special software for visually challenged people. He was guided on how to avail the various government, medical and railways departmental concessions. With the help of audio visual books, he was able to crack competitive examinations. Naresh and his family are very satisfied and happy with the services that they received at the centre.