A 21-year-old woman, whose tear glands dried up completely because of a severe drug reaction, underwent a surgery at KEM Hospital in which doctors transplanted her saliva glands in her eye to increase lubrication.
Two years ago, Kurla resident Nasreen Ansari, suffered a severe reaction to drugs for fever, cold and cough.
The reaction, called Stevens-Johnson syndrome, caused her tear glands to dry up. “She couldn’t open her eyes easily when there was light,” said her sister, Shaheen.
Surgeons at the hospital first tried doing an amniotic membrane graft on her eyes, in which a layer of the placenta (organ that nourishes the foetus and stored at hospitals for such surgeries) is transplanted on the eyes to help maintain its lustre. But this failed.
On Tuesday, they tried a newer technique by transplanting the lining of the mouth or bucal mucosa into her eyes. “We transplanted the lining where saliva is secreted. Instead of tears, saliva will be secreted in her eyes,” said Dr Arjun Ahuja, head of ophthalmology, KEM Hospital.
Steven-Jonhson syndrome is a rare disorder with an incidence of less than six people per million in a year all over the world.