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New Eye for Rs 100

Times of India
04 June 2010
By Lata Mishra

Retinal cancer patients can undergo eye implants for just Rs 100 courtesy Tata Memorial Hospital; usually, the operation costs Rs 25,000
A photograph of a three-year-old showing her right eye which had been affected. In the picture on the right, she's seen after the implant at Tata Memorial Hospital A photograph of a three-year-old showing her right eye which had been affected. In the picture on the right, she's seen after the implant at Tata Memorial Hospital
Those suffering the ugly aftermath of retinal cancer have a reason to rejoice. While they won’t get their vision back, an implant of a fake eye, which costs around Rs 25,000, will now be done for just Rs 100. This courtesy Tata Memorial Hospital in Parel, where doctors have developed a unique implant wherein a fake eye can be fixed in the eye socket after removing the iris.

The implanted eye looks identical to a real one, thus removing the scars of the retinal cancer, medically known as Retinoblastoma. In most cases, children are affected by this cancer. Because it spreads from the eye to the brain through optic nerve, removal of the affected eye socket is a must. Post eye socket removal, an ugly scar remains in the area in place of an eye. An eye implant restores normal look of the patient.
A combination of pictures showing the implant available in the market for as much as Rs 20,000 (left). On the right is the implant made by Tata Memorial Hospital for a mere Rs 100. Doctors at the Parel say that with these silicon implants patients will not be able to see, but can blink, which helps them feel more normalA combination of pictures showing the implant available in the market for as much as Rs 20,000 (left). On the right is the implant made by Tata Memorial Hospital for a mere Rs 100. Doctors at the Parel say that with these silicon implants patients will not be able to see, but can blink, which helps them feel more normal
Said Dr Sajid Qureshi, associate professor of peadiatric oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, “We get more than 50 retinal cancer patients every year, mostly children. We cringe at the prospect of removing eye sockets of these children as it gives them a distorted look but we have no choice. Wow we have found a reasonable solution in every aspect.”

Doctors at the hospital have already implanted 43 patients fake eyes under this novel technology. Said Dr Qureshi, “We are proud to say all 43 cases were a success. We are now offering the implants to patients across age group. Normally, fake eye implants are expensive and not all can afford them. This technology has made it possible for everyone to get a normal look post retinal cancer.”
No wonder parents of the affected children are overwhelmed with gratitude. Said a person whose three–year–old daughter underwent an implant, “Though my child’s vision has not been restored, at least, her look has been. She can move her fake eye, she can even blink, which gives her a natural look.”

Retinal Cancer
Retinal Cancer
Cancer of the retina, or Retinoblastoma, is caused by mutation in the Rb-1 protein. It occurs mostly in children and accounts for about 3 per cent of the cancers occurring in children younger than 15 years. The tumor may begin in one or both eyes.

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