A conscientious Guyanese agricultural worker, with no known underlying medical issues, suddenly develops an unbearable burning sensation in one dark brown eye. He seeks medical attention and is given antibiotic drops, but the mysterious infection persists and worsens.
Swabs are taken at a private city hospital and tested by laboratory analysts, left puzzled that they cannot identify precisely the origin, what caused the condition and whether it is from a strange fungus or a baffling bacterium. Suggesting a fungal affliction may be behind the obvious corneal ulcer, his doctors eventually recommend that he seek medication, unavailable in Guyana, and alternative expensive treatment overseas at a well-known specialist.
By the time he arrives in Trinidad and Tobago on emergency leave, weary and worried, two weeks have passed, and his eye is painful, redder and completely clouded. The ophthalmologist scrapes off the diseased cells on the surface of the cornea, the clear, dome-shaped multi-layered window which focuses light into the organ, in an initial operation called a superficial keratectomy. Other painful procedures follow to correct the scarring, with a slip of amniotic membrane being grafted to reduce inflammation and trigger growth factors for epithelial wound healing on the surface of the eye, as practitioners struggle to find an elusive antibiotic for full relief and most desirably, a complete cure…..