After living in a state of blindness for seven years, acid attack victim Reenu Sharma, 27, has begun her journey to get back her vision.
Fortis Healthcare, which had offered to treat her for free after Hindustan Times published her story on January 14, 2013 successfully separated her fused eyelids in both eyes, removed dead tissues to expose the anterior surface and created upper and lower pockets beneath the eye lids in her left eye.
A team of doctors from the eye and plastic surgery departments in the Gurgaon-based Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI) — Dr Anchal Gupta, cornea consultant, ophthalmic surgery and Dr Charu Sharma, plastic and cosmetic surgeon — performed the two surgeries.
She has a fully functional left eyelid now, which she can open and close like any normal person does. A plastic shell-like cover is placed inside her eye to prevent it from getting fused again. Doctors used tissue extenders to stretch the skin of her eyelids so that the lids cover the eyes completely.
“The lids are scarred and short in size that are insufficient to close the eyes. It is important for vision restoration to ensure the eyes don’t get dry,” said Dr Gupta. The entire right eye ball is damaged with no vision left. However, doctors are trying to restore functional vision in her left eye.
“We want to be very sure that she has recovered from the effects of both the surgeries, so we will touch the eye ball only after eight weeks. She is not a suitable candidate for a corneal transplant that is why we will opt for keratoprosthesis- an artificial cornea,” said Dr Gupta.
Doctors are not sure how much of vision they would be able to restore as that will depend on her retina.
“We don’t know how viable the retina is but we are hopeful that she will get some functional vision,” added Dr Gupta.
Sharma was attacked by a stalker in 2006, who wanted to marry her and due to inadequate treatment the acid had fused her eyelids shut, damaged her nose, lips and neck.
The family is hopeful that this time around, the result will be positive.