Curse of the White Pearl
December 1, 2011
School of Medicine, Kochi
Cataract is the leading cause for blindness in middle- and low-income countries. Usually affecting older people, cataract occurs when the lens in the eye is clouded over, impairing vision.
Cataract is treatable. Cataract surgery known as phacoemulsification is a common procedure all over the world. In this advanced surgical method, an ultrasonic device breaks up and then removes the cloudy lens, or cataract, from the eye.
Although success rate is high and a successful operation restores normal vision, sometimes complications may develop.
The lens nucleus may be dislocated into the vitreous cavity, either totally or in part, leading to the complication known as dropped nucleus. This may occur at any stage of phacoemulsification including hydrodissection, sculpting or nuclear segment removal.
If left untreated, the condition can lead to severe intraocular inflammation, secondary glaucoma and retinal detachments, which may lead to loss of vision as well as cause pain in the eye.
Small gauge suture-less vitrectomy surgery is often used for the management of nucleus drop. It is seen as a significant recent advance for treatment of many vitreoretinal conditions.
A video was made by an Amrita team for the benefit of ophthalmologists and PG students that demonstrated the surgery technique.
The video received the Padmasree Dr. Tony Fernandez Award for best video in the recently concluded conference of the Kerala Society of Ophthalmic Surgeons at Thrissur.
The video was titled Curse of the White Pearl – Pirates of the Vitreous.
“White pearl in ophthalmology refers to the cataract, while pirates of the vitreous refer to vitreous fibrils that pull on the retina,” explained Dr. Gopal S. Pillai, Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Amrita School of Medicine in Kochi, who led the initiative.
“At Amrita, we use small gauge suture-less vitreoretinal surgery for all our patients just like the best treatment centers in the West. This procedure requires less hospital care, enables early recovery and provides better results overall.”
“Amrita is one of the pioneers of small gauge suture-less surgeries in India. There are not many Indian centers that routinely perform this surgery.”