GPHC’s Eye Clinic performing corneal transplants this week

The Department of Ophthalmology of the Georgetown hospital has announced that the Subraj Foundation Transplantation Team will be in Guyana this week to perform a series of corneal transplant surgeries.

According to a press release, the team will arrive on June 30 and will evaluate and perform transplants on patients the same day. Surgeries will also be performed on July 1 and 2. “The team will perform transplants based upon the amount of donor corneas they can procure. They have stated that they are aiming for a potential of about 10 transplants,” the statement said.

The team, headed by Dr Rahul Jindal has travelled to Guyana previously and has already performed 26 kidney transplants and six corneal transplants here. The six corneal transplants were successfully done at the Balwant Singh hospital in August 2014.

The team will comprise thee physicians: Dr Jindal along with two Corneal Transplant Surgeons: Dr Stephen Waller and Dr Joseph Pasternak. They will be accompanied by members of the Subraj Foundation: George Subraj, Jay Narain and Lakhram Persaud.

Dr Shailendra Sugrim, Head of Department of Ophthalmology said over the past month his department has been generating a list of patients to be seen by the team. From this pool of patients, the team will decide the suitability for transplant surgery. The team will be bringing the donor corneas with them along with special microsurgical ophthalmic instruments to perform these surgeries. The visiting corneal specialists are expected to work along with local ophthalmologists to perform the surgeries.

Meanwhile, the team is also interested in lobbying towards the establishment of an Eye Bank in Guyana where donor corneas can be stored and kept for transplantation. These donor corneas are taken from cadavers, the press release said. They have to be stored in a special liquid medium and can survive for a limited period of time.

The cornea – the clear “glass window” of the eye refracts light and allows the entrance of light into the eye which enables a person to see. Any disorder that makes the cornea cloudy or opacified can cause severe visual impairment. Some patients who become blind by corneal opacities or disorders can regain their sight via corneal transplants.

The GPHC Department of Ophthalmology is also encouraging any patient who has been previously recommended for corneal transplants to report to the GPHC Eye Clinic with the letter of recommendation from their ophthalmologists along with all investigations that have been previously done.

Patients who have already benefited from corneal transplants and would like a review by the team can also report to the clinic on Tuesday June 30 at 8am. These patients are also advised to bring the clinical records of their previous surgery.

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