After 10 yrs, woman regains sight due to rare tooth-in-the-eye surgery

Mamtha was leading a normal life until she developed a drug reaction (SJ syndrome) and lost the ability to see from both her eyes due to dry cornea. She was left totally dependent on others to carry out even day-to-day activities.

Bangalore Mirror Bureau
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By: Nitindra Bandyopadhyay

A 35-year-old woman was able to see after a decade after doctors put a tooth in her eye, quite literally. This is a rare form of surgery in the lens is inserted into a hole drilled in the tooth of the patient, which is removed. The lens is then implanted to provide vision to the blind patient.

Mamtha was leading a normal life until she developed a drug reaction (SJ syndrome) and lost the ability to see from both her eyes due to dry cornea. She was left totally dependent on others to carry out even day-to-day activities.

After consulting over a dozen hospitals and institutes for surgery that would enable her to regain eye sight, she would return dejected due to the complexity of the eye condition. Also, the lack of challenging surgical expertise and infrastructure was missing.

She got hope only after reaching out to doctors at Sankara Eye Hospital in the city. The patient went through evaluation and proper counseling and then agreed to get this surgery of tooth in the eye. The surgery took nine months to complete and consisted of three surgical stages of three months’ gap between each.

Dr Pallavi Joshi, Consultant Cornea and Refractive Services, Sankara Eye Hospital, said, “This is a surgical procedure to restore vision in the bilaterally severely damaged cases of corneal and altered ocular surface patients. In the first phase of the procedure, the patient’s tooth was removed into which an optical cylinder is incorporated.”

This complex is left to bio-integrate for two months and later inserted into the cornea and covered with overlying mucous membrane, light passes through this cylinder and allows the patient to visualise objects. That tooth was then embedded beneath her eye for several months. The final phase – after the eye has been prepared – saw the tooth with the lens implanted directly into the eye.

At the end of the final surgical procedure, the patient has regained 80% of her functional vision and is delighted that she is able to carry out daily activities independently again after nearly a decade. It’s the very first such surgery in Karnataka till date.

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