The immense need for eye care in leprosy patients was felt by the legendary Dr. Margaret Brand, who took special training for the same, and ophthalmology work began in the late 1950’s.
We cater to a wide variety of patients with ophthalmic problems. The common conditions we come across are refractive errors, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, uveitis, corneal ulcers etc. We make sure that each of our patients gets personal care and attention. Wholesome spiritual and physical healing to all is our utmost desire.
Our OPD Services
Autorefractometry (Carl Zeiss Acuitus and Topcon)
Slit lamp examination (Haag Streit & Carl Zeiss slitlamps)
Our department is running a BSc. Optometry course, affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Dr M.G.R Medical University since 2011. There are five students in each batch every year. The admission is based on an Allied Health Sciences entrance examination conducted by the institute every June, subject to the university rules and regulations.
We have regular outreach camps during the week in which deserving patients with cataract are identified and brought to the hospital for free cataract surgery under DBCS scheme. CBM also funds part of our charity works. We also screen for refractive errors, diabetic retinopathies and glaucoma during the camps and are referred to the base hospital for detailed evaluation and treatment. School screenings, health education and teachers’ training are also part of our outreach programs.
The CBM sponsors lot of our training, optical shop and cataract surgeries. We conduct camps under the DBCS scheme by the Government. We also get our share from the ALM supporting the institution.
One day when the outreach eye camp team returned to the hospital with the usual crowd of patients screened for cataract surgery, among them were three people, two old ladies and an old man, who had something peculiar in common. They went, wherever they went, in a line, like the three blind mice – and blind they were – with their bilaterally mature cataracts!! And each of had a sturdy wooden rod in their hands to lead their way.
They went through the entire pre-operative procedures and counselling clutching on to their rods, as if it held their lives. When one of the staff jokingly asked the eldest lady if he can have the rod for himself, she got offended and said instantly, “How do you expect me to move around without this? This is my faithful companion”. Then suddenly feeling sorry for denying his request, she innocently continued: “But if you really need it I can arrange for one, the next time I come”.
The three underwent uneventful cataract surgeries the next day. They were very happy with their regained vision and were gleaming with joy. When the threesome came for a follow up after one week, they were still with their rods, though their vision was perfect. When asked by the same staff, why she needed the rods still, the lady promptly answered “This has carried me through the high and low, tough and rough lands when I was blind. How can I just leave it, now that I’ve got my vision back?”
It was an eye opener for all those who forget the good done by someone in times of trouble, after they tide over the times of trial. The old lady expressed her gratitude and went by, only to return in a short while, and clasping the “requisitioner’s” hands and handing over her rod, she said, “I think I actually don’t need it anymore. You can keep it”, clueless about why the person blushed, while the rest of the staff who watched them burst into laughter.
The Notorious Sight Stealer
Mrs. Mangaiammal, 60 years old, presented to us with complaints of intractable pain, watering and photophobia for 3 months, after her right eye cataract surgery which was done elsewhere. Despite various visits to the concerned hospital her symptoms persisted and she came to us desperate for a second opinion.
She had no known systemic illness. On examination at our clinic, her vision was PL, with PR inaccurate in the right eye and 6/18 in the left eye. Right eye cornea was hazy due to edema and had an irregular AC which was very shallow with a pressure of 50mmHg. She was pseudophakic with a total glaucomatous atrophy. Left eye had an immature cataract, with normal IOP and fundus findings.
A clinical diagnosis of postop malignant glaucoma was made. This is a type of glaucoma notorious for its resistance to all kinds of treatment and the patient ends up with a painful blind eye.
She was started on antiglaucoma medications. An Nd-Yag laser hyaloidotomy was attempted but didn’t work well. She underwent a pars plana vitrectomy with AC reformation. Patient’s AC was deeper and her IOP was coming down during the initial weeks of surgery.
As both the patient and the doctors were feeling good about being able to tackle one of the worst known types of glaucoma, the pressure shot up again despite the maximum medical therapy. A cyclodestructive procedure was the last resort left, for which the patient was willing as a painless eye was her only desire by then. As planned a cyclocryoablation of 180º was done. To our and the patient’s relief the IOP crashed down to normal levels, very soon after the procedure.
The patient is very grateful and happy today, 3 months after the procedure, that she can wake up every day without the gnawing pain in her blind eye. We thank God for helping us make the right decisions at the right time and enabling us to help the patient.