The first ever Keratoprothesis eye surgery has been conducted in Ghana by the Dr. Agarwal Eye Hospital.
Keratoprothesis is a surgical procedure where a diseased cornea is replaced with a partial artificial one. It is reserved for patients for whom traditional penetration keratoplasty – PKP, that is other forms of cornea surgery such as the Stevens Johnson Syndrome, cannot be done.
The specialist Indian eye hospital is furnished with state of the art equipment to provide quality eye care and improved vision for the Ghanaian populace.
Rhoda, a 39 year old mother of two, who had been blind for 16 years, regained her sight after undergoing the Keratoprothesis surgery. She developed Steven Johnson Syndrome, a disease of ocular surface following treatment of malaria which affected her vision.
She reacted to the drug because she was ignorant of her allergies to the presence of Sulphur in the malaria drug. The end results were severe skin blisters including loss of fingernails and eventually total blindness.
According to her, before the surgery, she had never had the privilege of seeing any of her 11 and 8 year old children since their birth. She lamented on how much she had spent outside the country to find a cure for her blindness but was however to no avail.
Speaking on the issue, ophthalmologist and Medical Director of the Dr. Agarwal Eye Hospital, Asiwome Senadza stated that “it’s a reaction that occurs after taking drugs that contain some chemicals like Sulphur. It erupts and all the lining in the body are all affected and becomes sour. It affects the mouth, the nose, the skin and in the case of Rhoda, it affected her eyes. It develops crystals that burst. When it occurs in the eyes, it becomes like a wound all over and the eye ends up sticking together which prevents the eye from opening. Steven Johnson is a severe drug reaction that causes a lot of wounds all over the body”
Another 29 year old Mary Annan went through the same ordeal after taking unprescribed malarial drugs. She became dependent on family members for day to day activities- a situation she said nearly made her commit suicide.
However she stated that the doctors assured her the inside of her eyes were still functional enough that she might one day see.
According to Mary, she had her first eye surgery on August, 31, 2017 and the other on October, 29, 2017 and after the surgery on Day 1, she had almost 95% vision .
The surgery procedure costs between GH₵5000 to GH₵7000 to restore sight for many who cannot benefit from cornea transplant.
Dr. Seneadza said: “With this facility in place, Ghanaians will no longer have to bear the stress of travelling abroad to access world-class eye care and treatment.” She also added that “the hospital will also serve as research hub and a centre for building capacity of Eye Specialists across the sub-region.”
Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital is mostly focused on giving the average Ghanaian the best eye care treatment to eradicate near cases of blindness in Ghana at very affordable rates as part of its social responsibility.