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Updated: March 2, 2013 09:18 IST

Two surgeries later, infant’s eyes flutter open

Special Correspondent
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A month-old baby underwent surgery for cataract at a city hospital recently.
Photo: K. Pichumani
The Hindu A month-old baby underwent surgery for cataract at a city hospital recently. Photo: K. Pichumani

A month-old baby from Madhavaram, who could not open his eyes, was operated on for cataract at a hospital recently.

The baby boy, born at a private hospital in Madhavaram, was brought to Vasan Eye Care hospital in Anna Nagar, after his mother could not get him to open his eyes, despite attempting to attract his attention several times.

A paediatrician had referred her to the eye hospital, where doctors performed tests and found he had cataract (an opaque area over the lens of the eye) in both eyes that had to be operated upon.

J. Arun Kumar, consultant ophthalmologist who led the team of doctors that performed the surgeries, said that in addition to the cataract, which was wedged, there was also some calcified tissue that had to be removed.

“Normally cataract surgeries are done as outpatient procedures and last only 10 minutes. But for the baby, the surgery in each eye lasted more than an hour,” he said.

A high-quality, adult intraocular lens was also implanted, and adjusted for power, so that even when the boy grows, he will not need glasses, Dr. Kumar said.

Manjula Jayakumar, who first tested the baby said, “In this case, he would have needed glasses with a power of +25, which would have been very thick. If the lenses had not been implanted, the child could have developed lazy eye. And that would have been as good as not having removed the cataract.”

By implanting the lenses, the baby has also been saved from complications like glaucoma at a later stage, she added.

The first surgery was performed on January 21, and the second on February 12.

Ophthalmologists said the cause of congenital cataract is difficult to establish. However, once it is treated, the possibility of the child developing a cataract again is remote. Doctors said that as the baby grew and his vision improved, the bio-friendly lenses would help correct his vision problems.

In case the child developed short-sightedness, he could later use contact lenses. “When he turns 18, he can even go in for a Lasik correction,” Dr. Kumar said on Friday.

Doctors said the surgery was rare, as it is common for hospitals to delay such procedures until the baby is two years old.

The baby’s mother Sunitha, said he had not been given a name as yet. The family hails from Andhra Pradesh and the baby’s father Kishore, works as a mechanic in Madhavaram.

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