J&K's first eye transplant carried out at SMHS

The team of surgeons had Prof Tariq Qureshi, head department of ophthalmology, Dr Shahnawaz, Dr Umar and Dr Aaliya from department of ophthalmology on board who pledged to continue such surgeries at the hospital to eradicate such kinds of blindness.

ZEHRU NISSA
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jul 22 2017 11:46PM | Updated Date: Jul 22 2017 11:46PM
J&K's first eye transplant carried out at SMHSFile Photo

In a first, three blind persons were given a new life at SMHS Hospital here when their eyes were transplanted with donated eyes (corneas), an advanced procedure that marks the beginning of much awaited eye bank and donation facility in J&K.

Cornea specialist from AIIMS New Delhi, Dr Rajesh Sinha, performed three advanced eye transplant surgeries at SMHS Hospital today, assisted by eye surgeons of the department of ophthalmology.

“We have just begun transplanting donated cornea here in Srinagar. However the sustenance of this initiative will depend on the eye donations and banking,” Dr Sinha said. The corneas that were given to the three recipients were donated by eye banks in Delhi, officials at the hospital said.

The cornea recipients, a woman and two men in their 50s, were able to see for the first time after years when doctors removed their eye padding. “For years I was unable to see. They (doctors) have given me a new life,” Mohammad Maqbool, an eye recipient said. Another recipient, Zoona, became emotional when doctors took her eye padding off. She kept on repeating “hamud” (thanks to Allah).

The team of surgeons had Prof Tariq Qureshi, head department of ophthalmology, Dr Shahnawaz, Dr Umar and Dr Aaliya from department of ophthalmology on board who pledged to continue such surgeries at the hospital to eradicate such kinds of blindness.

“For more than 25 years, we at GMC Srinagar have been striving for an eye bank and eye transplant and are now in the process of realizing this facility, finally,” Prof Qureshi said.  He said that every year hundreds of people with corneal opacity were seen at the hospital but doctors were unable to help them due to lack of the facility to transplant cornea in state.

Doctors said that many patients used to approach hospitals outside the state for the transplant and in addition to waiting for years in queue for getting a donor; they had to spend lakhs of rupees on the surgery.

Dr Sinha said that the need of the hour in J&K was to establish a full-fledged eye-bank which was possible if eye donations were made. “If there are no eye donations, there can be no eye bank,” he said. He said that people need to open up to eye donations. “Let your eyes live after you are gone,” he said.

Speaking about the development, Prof Samia Rashid, principal GMC Srinagar, said the hospital has recently got license to carry out eye transplants. “I am quite hopeful that the surgeries will start a new era in the direction of eradicating blindness in the state.”

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