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Lives we have changed

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, his only seeing eye was hit by a stone as he was watching some children at play.

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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!

The acid attack now firmly behind her

Soniya Kishanlal is a young woman from Punjab. On her first visit to LVPEI, she underwent eyelid surgery performed by Dr Tarjani Dave and her team to separate her eyelids that had fused after acid was thrown on her face by an irate neighbour over an argument. She underwent a second surgery by Dr Sayan Basu and his team for an Auro Kpro, a corneal prosthesis used to replace a small, round portion of the patient's damaged cornea.

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Soniya today is a transformed woman; a far cry from the tantrum-throwing, haunted woman constantly wailing about her loss. Today she acknowledges that she is lucky. With vision restored a little in her left eye, hope has stirred once again of a new future with her ever attentive and affectionate husband Kishanlal whom she is now able to see again. She is grateful for that and very thankful to her doctors at LVPEI.

Controlling hemophilia to save vision

Krishna, 25, from a humble family in Madhya Pradesh has an MBA in Finance. His preparation for a banking career suffered a blow due to eye injury and subsequent vision loss. Krishna has hemophilia, a rare genetic disorder in which the blood does not clot and results in excessive bleeding. At LVPEI, a team effort by his doctors first focused on controlling his hemophilia before treating him - completely free of cost.

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From Dr Archana Bhargava's persistent efforts to convince the Delhi Hemophilia Society to provide the expensive Factor VIII injections to Krishna free of cost, to Dr Pavan Karla's diligence in administering these injections twice daily for seven days at 2pm and 2am, and to Dr Bhupesh Bagga's skill in performing the Hyphema drainage surgery early in February, everything went like clockwork. “I came to LVPEI with high expectations and it has lived up to its reputation. The pain has subsided drastically; my vision is still blurred but I have been told further course of treatment will be planned. I am hopeful the doctors save my vision and I can resume my preparation for bank exams,” says a grateful Krishna.

Shivram's year-long journey from darkness to light

Shivram Mahato of Madhubani in Bihar lost his right eye to insect injury.

Eight years later, an unfortunate brush with a buffalo's tail caused a painful infection in his left eye rendering him sightless. Eye doctors in Darbhanga and Nepal could not help and he remained sightless for a year.

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A fellow villager working as a cook in Hyderabad told Shivram about LVPEI and soon enough, Ashindar - his son - brought Shivram over.

Shivram joyously recalls the moment of wonderment when his vision was restored. Soon, he was walking around independently and relying less on his son. The father-son duo is of course immensely grateful to their Doctor-God.

Nilukshi can now keep her eyes open

Nilukshi Shamika Karunathilaka, 13, from Kiriwandala village, Sri Lanka, 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.

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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.

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 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.

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At LVPEI, Dr Bhupesh Bagga and his team performed cornea transplantation surgery in Ramanand’s right eye using Auro Keratoprosthesis - 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.

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'.

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She visited LVPEI Hyderabad 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).

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.

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Dr Virender Sangwan implanted the LVP Keratoprosthesis in one eye, 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 school going sons, and to look forward to life in general.

Sisters Undergo Corneal Transplant

Sisters Laxmi Singh, 10, and Sumitra Singh, 12, from Baripada in Odisha, both had a problem of very low vision in their right eye from birth. As the problem worsened with age, they sought care at LVPEI Bhubaneswar.

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Dr Sujata Das performed Penetrating Keratoplasty, and they were treated completely free of cost as they belonged to a low economic background. The sisters are doing well now post surgery and have a chance of a normal childhood with vision.

Emergency care after injury from a cricket ball

When Syed Ayub’s son was hit in the eye with a cricket ball early this month, he was rushed from Tadbund to LVPEI in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, where he was attended to by the staff in Emergency and admitted overnight to undergo corneal surgery.

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Happy with the patient care services in the Emergency Department and with the eye surgery performed by Dr Bhupesh Bagga and Dr Swapna Satish Shanbagh, Mr Ayub says, “We were told the eye surgery went well and that after using the prescribed eye drops for 3 months, the vision will return to normal too. The staff here is exemplary in the service they provide. The hospital treats underprivileged patients free of charge, providing the admitted patient a room in the inpatient ward and meals free. I would recommend LVPEI to whosoever needs eye care.”

A chance to relook at life

Swarnakumari Gangadhara, who hails from a small village in Karimnagar district, tells us of the time when she suddenly developed white opacity in her right eye. After several visits to local doctors, and worried about her deteriorating vision, she came to LVPEI where she was told that she would have to undergo a corneal transplantation. She recalls her anxiety about undergoing the surgery despite her father's and husband's support and encouragement.

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Dr Muralidhar Rammappa's reassurance gave her the confidence to move ahead and she underwent two corneal transplantations in that year. Swarnakumari has since continued with her studies. She is now holding a job too and is buoyed by her chance to relook at life. She is grateful to the doctor and the hospital, and mentions that her brothers were so touched by the transformation they saw in her that they have pledged their eyes.

Kerasoft IC contact lens in lieu of eye surgery

“When I first came to LVPEI, I was mentally stressed having to deal with keratoconus, a progressive degenerative blinding eye condition. I am grateful to my Consultant Dr Prashant Garg, Counsellor Ms Sujata Mishra and to Contact Lens Practitioner Mr K Parthasarathi for their timely advice. I think in the field of eye care, LVPEI is a Mecca, and I implicitly trust the Institute. I have frequently visited here for my eye examination and recommend it to all who need eye care as it provides good service and at reasonable rates too.”

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Civil Services aspirant Mahtab Rahmani was prescribed with Kerasoft IC contact lens in lieu of eye surgery.

Little Faaz is now able to see everything and can even sing

Speaking in chaste Malayalam and a little timidly in English, Ms Naima Ibrahim, mother of little Mohammad Faaz Bin Rajnas from Kerala, says she is grateful for the successful corneal transplant surgery performed by Dr Muralidhar Ramappa at TKCI . Referred to TKCI by Sankara Netralaya, Faaz had already undergone several eye surgeries in the past. “Faaz is now able to do everything like any normal child of his age; he is able to see everything and can even sing! He has many questions to ask, which I am happy to answer. On our last visit to the institute, he was able to point out the ants moving on the floor, which was truly a big milestone for us.

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When I had first visited TKCI , the nurses here had assured me that everything would be all right and I am happy it has come true. I truly believe that TKCI is wonderful institute,” says Faaz’s mother with tears of happiness and pride.

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 TKCI ’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.

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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.

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.

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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 TKCI ’s Kode Venkatadri Chowdary campus and advised him to consult the eye specialists there. Dr Mahesh Kalyankar, who first examined Rajesh, 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. He experienced vision loss in his left eye as well. He was then advised to visit TKCI ’s GMRV campus in Visakhapatnam

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A corneal transplantation surgery was performed by Dr Merle Fernandes. “I will be forever indebted to TKCI 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.

Limbal Stem Cell Surgery

Mohammad Bilal a 23 year old student from Hyderabad in Pakistan, was examining an opened inverter with a candle in hand, totally ignorant to the danger involved, when the unforeseen happened. He sustained severe burn injuries in his right eye and was rushed for emergency medical assistance. In the hope of receiving the best of medical care, he was brought to Islamabad and then to Karachi.

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“The doctors I consulted said that 90% of my vision was already lost. The surgery they suggested was very expensive and the chances of success were remote. I posted my case online and received several responses from doctors all over the world...

I felt most comfortable interacting with DrNeera Agarwal in Delhi, India (Neera Agarwal is an Cornea alumnus from TKCI , trained here more than 20 years ago!) who informed me about limbal stem cell surgery and its success in restoring vision. I came down to India and was operated by her. Post surgery, as she was not very happy with the improvement in my vision, the doctor referred me to DrVirender S Sangwan at TKCI , Hyderabad,” recalls Bilal. In early 2015, he underwent another limbal stem cell surgery performed by Dr Sangwan and in February 2016, on a follow up visit, he was delighted that 45% of his vision was restored.

Bilal is currently doing his engineering and aspires to do an MBA. “Earlier my eyelids would stick to each other, but now I can open them properly. Though a little apprehensive in the beginning about coming to India, my family and I are now very happy with the quality of service and care we received here,” says the delighted Bilal!

Srinivas Gets Quality Services in His Village

When P Srinivas reached the Edward and Soona Brown Eye Centre in Dhulipalla, Andhra Pradesh, and his right eye was red in colour, causing pain and watering. While driving his motorcycle, he had collided with a brand of a tree and had injured his eye. The local doctor had prescribed some drops, but that did not help.

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A detailed eye examination revealed a corneal tear and the repair surgery was performed the very next day. Srinivas, who is an agriculturist, is very happy and relieved now that the pain and the watering have completely stopped. He also underwent a cataract surgery subsequently. “I have full faith in TKCI . I am fortunate that such a good facility is available so close to my village; otherwise I would have had to struggle with travel expenses to the city,” says Srinivas.

The Joy of Sight

Manish Kumar sits on his father’s lap and observes the world around intently. Other than the tiny pair of spectacles that he wears, there is no other sign of the ordeal that the 14-month-old boy had to face. Kumar suffered from a congenital condition, which led to the deterioration of his left cornea soon after birth. In December last year, Kumar who lives in Chhapra, Bihar, was brought to TKCI Eye Institute in Hyderabad, where he underwent a corneal transplant surgery.

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Kumar is lucky. The chances of him getting a corneal transplant in Bihar were nil, since the state has not collected a single cornea in the past one year. Even if he were to travel to other states, Kumar would have had to wait for weeks, if not months, for the surgery.

At TKCI Eye Institute, Kumar underwent the surgery within a day of the diagnosis. And, his treatment was done for free, given that his family could not afford it. The institute is one among the few institutes in India where there is no waiting list for receiving corneas.

Eye for a Tooth

Nearly 25 years ago, Bhagyamma lost her vision due to a severe body rash as a reaction to a penicillin injection that scarred the mucous membrane in her eyes. To restore her vision, Bhagyamma underwent Modified OsteoOdontoKeratoprosthesis (MOOKP), a surgery a visiting doctor from the USA performed at TKCI .

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In the first stage, Bhagyamma’s tooth was harvested. The tooth and the adjoining bone were cut down and a hole was drilled through the center of her 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 develop 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 the retina or film layer at the back of her eye.

A skin graft was also performed by removing her oral mucosa and using it 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!

Solace from unbearable pain and bonus of vision restored

An unsuccessful cataract surgery in the right eye three years back, resulted in unbearable pain and vision loss for 55 year old Jahera Bee from Bellary, Karnataka. “The doctors I consulted told me that my case was very complicated and nothing could be done. The only solution was to remove my eye and replace it with a prosthetic eye but I was not convinced and did not heed their advice. My hope was rewarded when I consulted Dr C Jagadesh Reddy at TKCI . He assured me that the pain would surely go and he would also try to restore my vision, and it did! Now I can see, and move around independently. I strongly recommend TKCI to others who face a similar problem. I would also like to be associated with TKCI as a volunteer,” says a grateful Jahera Bee.

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Jahera Bee had a disorganized anterior segment of the eye with chronic edematous cornea, for which keratoplasty was done by Dr Reddy.

Medical Intervention Augmented by low vision services

12 year old Mahamood Zubair is in 6th grade and Math is his favourite subject. He aspires to become a doctor and loves playing outdoor games. His enthusiasm and activities belie the three major surgeries in one year, done to both his eyes for Peter’s anomaly.

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At the tender age of 8 months, he has survived brain fever but his vision was impacted severely. He has had to undergo a series of interventions for his eyes – optical iridectomy, cataract surgery with PCIOL implantation, and topical anti-glaucoma medication for the control of intraocular pressure (IOP) in glaucoma. He is currently availing low vision services at LVPEI, using a 4x monocular hand-held telescope and a 3x stand magnifier to read small print from his textbooks. His IOP is well controlled and he is performing well academically.

Low Vision Services for Microphthalmos followed by Band Keratopathy

Chambeti Sidhaiah’s first visit to LVPEI’s Meera & L B Deshpande Centre for Sight Enhancement was in 2001, at age 7. He was initially diagnosed with Microphthalmos and Cataract in both eyes, for which Parsplana Lensectomy was done in 2001 and subsequently in 2003 for both the eyes. He later developed band shaped Keratopathy and Phototherapeutic Keratotomy (PTK) was performed in both the eyes in 2007 and 2009 respectively.

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Aided with a new pair of glasses, he was initially able to manage his work but was later prescribed a 2x dome magnifier for ease of reading fine print in his textbooks. “Earlier I used to be completely dependent on others but now I can carry out most of my day-to-day activities independently. Due to my improved vision, I am able to continue my studies and am currently in the final year of my BCom,” says Sidhaiah

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.

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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 TKCI .

He emailed TKCI photos of his eye was not expecting anything much, but DrSangwan 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 DrSangwan. However, after the clear information DrSangwan gave him, he was so confident in DrSangwan’s ability that he decided to get his operation done at TKCI . 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 TKCI !