Maharashtra: Born with under-developed eyes, 6-year-old boy’s sight restored after surgery


A six-year-old boy suffering from retinal detachment due to under-developed eyes had his vision restored after surgery at Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital in Aundh, Pune, which is part of one of India’s largest networks of eye care centres.

Madhav Joshi (named changed), hailing from Bihar and the only child of his parents, was born with rare development disorders of the eye called microphthalmia, micro-cornea and typical coloboma. In this, babies are born with eyes that are abnormally small and not developed fully. The cornea is also very small, typically less than 10 mm in diameter, and part of the tissue that makes up the eye is missing. As a result of these conditions, Madhav’s retina had got detached and he could barely see. There was a great risk of his going fully blind if not treated promptly.

Dr. Sudhir Baburdikar, Sr. Retina Specialist, Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital, Aundh, Pune, who conducted the challenging surgery, said: “Eyes in which various layers have not developed fully at birth are prone to retinal detachment. In this, the retina is pulled away from its normal position at the back of the eye and the patient is not able to see normally. This is a medical emergency. Vision may take many months to improve and, in some cases, lead to total blindness. Madhav’s retina had become detached due to under-developed layers in his eyes existing since birth. He needed urgent surgery, otherwise he would have eventually gone totally blind.”

The doctor added: “It was very challenging work. As the eyes of the child are small and undeveloped, there was a very small area available to us to conduct the surgery. In addition, there was the risk of the eye lens getting damaged. The procedure required great skill. After a two-hour long surgery, we managed to reattach the retina of the child properly in its place. His ability to see has now drastically improved and his vision has been saved for the rest of his life. The procedure was a huge success.”

This surgery is one of the latest in a long list of breakthrough surgeries performed at the Hospital for restoring sight and hope in previously hopeless situations. Dr. Sudhir Baburdikar says that parents need to be vigilant to spot any anomalies in child’s vision early enough so that they can consult their paediatricians and ophthalmologists for proper medical attention without delay.

Said the boy’s mother who became emotional after the successful surgery: “Madhav is our only child. We were heartbroken to discover that he could not see properly due to undeveloped eyes, and there was a risk of him becoming blind. We were terribly anxious before the surgery if our child will be able to see at all. I thank Dr. Sudhir and others in the surgical team from the bottom of my heart for saving my son’s vision. We look forward to him now growing up into a healthy adult like other children of his age.”

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