Vision Restoration with the help of nerves from Foot.

Joy Sarkar, A 10 years boy from Bengaluru, India has vision restoration after a sensory nerve from his left foot was replaced in his left eye.

Joy had this born defect in his left eye called Corneal Anaesthesia. He had lost his vision and Corneal Sensation due to this genetic defect. Sural nerve transplantation was performed on 25th December and 3 days after the surgery was performed, the boy was able to see again.

Chief Oculoplasty surgeon and his team from Sankara Eye Hospital Conducted this nerve transplantation surgery. Dr Saptagrish Rambhatia said that Joy’s Left eye had non-healing corneal ulcers due to his lost corneal Sensation”. He also added that the condition causes the cornea to lose sensation partially or completely. The Cornea is a sensitive organ which is highly stimulated by Nerves. The loss of sensation could lead to long term surface problems and abnormal healing patterns in response to any injury.

Sural Nerve Transplantation is a procedure which is mostly common among neurosurgeons and plastic surgeons for treatment of facial nerve paralysis but remains unheard among ophthalmologists for treatment of corneal Anaesthesia. Dr. Sunil Morekar, who has been the pioneer of Sural nerve transplant in the eye in India, guided the whole procedure.

Consultant Cornea and Refractive Services and Ocular Surface Disease, Dr. Pallavi Joshi says “The upper layers of boy’s Cornea were damaged which then needed transplantation(lamellar keratoplasty). Doing only corneal Transplantation was no help because the problem was with the nerve’s connectivity thus the sural nerve transplantation helped like miracle.”

Dr. Rambhatia says, “This type of abnormality can be congenital, acquired from viral infections like herpes, non specific inflammation or may be a sign of brain Tumour. Till now, it was believed that the nerve that once damaged remains damaged. New studies have revealed that there is a definite possibility of regeneration of nerves and this is what happened in the boy’s case”.

Joy’s Father, Subal Sarkar told that his son’s eye problem was noticed when he was 4 months old. Parents thought he have had any injury which caused wound in his eye and caused decreased vision. Father also told that joy’s vision was restored but he still had some disorder of spinal cord and needs further treatment.