November 1, 2021 6:16:28 pm
In probably the first such case in Karnataka, Kannada film actor Puneeth Rajkumar’s eyes have given sight to four youths. Dr Bhujang Shetty, the chairman and managing director of Narayana Nethralaya, on Monday, said the transplant was carried out with the help of advanced techniques.
Speaking to media persons, Shetty said, “Even in their grief, Puneeth’s family extended their support to donate his eyes. We collected the eyes on Friday, the day he died, and they were transplanted the very next day. Generally, we transplant donated eyes to two persons but in Puneeth’s case, we were able to give sight to four youths.”
Explaining the technology, Shetty said: “What was unique is that we used each eye to treat two patients by separating the superior and deeper layers of the cornea. The superior layer was transplanted to two patients who had a superficial corneal disease and only the deeper layer was transplanted to patients with endothelial or deep corneal layer disease. Hence, we conducted four different transplants from two corneas to restore the vision of four patients. This has not been done earlier in our state to the best of my knowledge.”
“The outer or superficial part of the cornea was transplanted to two young patients with corneal dystrophy and keratoconus. Both these conditions affect predominantly the superficial layer of the cornea. Hence, only the superior part was replaced and the endothelium of the patients was retained. This greatly reduces the chances of graft rejection. The inner or deeper layer of the cornea was transplanted to two patients with corneal endothelial decompensation affecting the innermost layer of the cornea. In this procedure, only the endothelium is replaced and this is usually done with a small incision and a few sutures. This process aids faster recovery.”
“Besides this, the limbal rim (white part of the eye near the circumference of the cornea), which was not used for the transplants, has been sent to our laboratory to generate ‘Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells’ for potential use in patients with Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency, chemical injuries, acid burns and other serious disorders,” he added.
The surgeries were performed by Dr Yathish Shivanna, Dr Sharon D’Souza and Dr Harsha Nagaraj, under the leadership of Dr Rohit Shetty and supported by the rest of the cornea team.
It can be recalled that the eyes of Puneeth’s father, Dr Rajkumar, were donated in 2006 after his death. In 2017, the eyes of Puneeth’s mother (Parvathamma Rajkumar) were also donated following her death.
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