Syrian patient gets her vision back at RAK Hospital

  • The patient was suffering from retinal detachment; was referred to RAK Hospital after two unsuccessful surgeries in her home country that left her blind.
  • Retinal detachment can lead to blindness in the affected eye.
  • Symptoms include light flashes or floaters, blurred vision and a curtain-like shadow over one’s visual field; patients should consult an eye specialist at the earliest

When Wafa Jamil Boudi, a 61-year-old Syrian resident, began experiencing light flashes and floaters in her right eye, she did not pay much attention to them. However, when she started losing vision in the right eye and was diagnosed with retinal detachment, she underwent two surgeries within a space of a few months in Syria. Unfortunately, soon after the second surgery she experienced complete loss of sight in the eye, and her case was immediately referred to RAK Hospital, UAE, known for its expertise and surgical acumen in problems of the eye. Doctors at the hospital found that her retina had detached once again leading to severe complications and challenges, and called for an immediate surgery. The case was further aggravated since the patient had been operated twice and she reported quite late, so retina had already developed epiretinal membranes, fibrosis and multiple contractions.

“The patient’s vision in the right eye had worsened to such a state that she could not even see her hand when held up close to her eye. On examination, we found that her retina – the layer at the back of the eyeball which sends messages to the brain to form a visual image – had detached with several retinal breaks,” explained Dr Mohit Jain, vitreo-retina and cataract expert at RAK Hospital, who conducted the surgery on Wafa. “This separates the retinal cells from the layer of blood vessels that provides oxygen and nourishment and was the main cause of the blindness.”

Retinal detachments occurs when a gel-like substance (vitreous) seeps through a tear, break or hole, and collects under the retina, separating it from the underling tissue. The detached retina loses its blood supply and eventually loses the ability to send messages to the brain. As people grow older, they become more susceptible to retinal tear and detachment.

“We took the patient for the surgery the very next day since in such cases time is of essence. It was a complicated surgery, since once retina gets detached from underlying eye structures, it starts to develop fibrosis and contraction. This contraction increases with time and is more pronounced in recurrent cases. Through surgery we removed all traction over the retina, repaired retinal breaks through laser and placed a silicon band around the eye to allow the retina to reattach. Silicon oil was placed to support the eye. In just about a week, Wafa’s condition had improved tremendously with retina fully attached and she was able to see from her right eye,” added Dr Mohit.

Referring to the symptoms of retinal detachment, Dr Mohit cautioned that people who experience light flashes or floaters (tiny specks that seem to drift through one’s field of vision) should consult an eye specialist at the earliest. Other symptoms include blurred vision, reduced side (peripheral) vision and a curtain-like shadow over one’s visual field. The problem is more prevalent in people who are short-sighted, have a family history of detached retina or are older than 50 or having patches of weak and thin area in retina known as lattice degeneration. Lattice degeneration is an important risk factor, and up to 30 percent of all retinal detachments occur in eyes having lattice degeneration

Doctors advise that people with a history of eye injury or eye surgery, having extremely short-sightedness are at higher risk of retinal detachment, should go for retina screening as precautionary measure if they experience similar symptoms. Retinal detachment can lead to permanent blindness if surgery is not performed promptly.

Dr Raza Siddiqui, CEO Arabian Healthcare Group and Executive Director of RAK Hospital said, “This case is literally an ‘eye-opener’ for people who are facing vision problems. Discomfort in the eye should not be neglected at any cost, since timely medical intervention can save one from lifelong vision loss. At the same time, I would like to applaud the team at RAK Hospital who took immediate measures to address the patient’s problem that gave new lease to her vision”.

RAK Hospital’s highly specialised Eye Care Centre is fully dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions of the eye while offering the most advanced, exceptionally versatile and superior cutting edge eye-care technology and surgical platform, by far the best in the entire Middle East. The facility also offers exceptionally versatile Femtosecond Cataract Laser surgery and Femto Lasik surgery for true precision, high quality and maximum speed.