Muscat: A two-year-old girl from Oman, who was born without eyelids due to which her eyes always remained open, received a new lease of life after an Indian doctor sculpted eyelids, grafting skin from behind her mother’s ear.
Speaking to Times of Oman, Dr Sunil Vasani, an Ophthalmic plastic surgeon in Mumbai, said, “Imagine a scenario wherein you are unable to close your eyes. It feels akin to some torture routines depicted in Hollywood films wherein clips are placed in the victims’ eyes, and the poor soul is deprived of all sleep.”
Icthyosis is a genetic condition in which the patient’s skin is unable to retain moisture and subsequently shrivels.
Meera Rashid was suffering from icthyosis, and her eyes have been open since birth. She did have lashes but were stuck to her eyebrow. “Her parents, in despair after rushing from pillar to post, arrived in Mumbai in India,” Dr Vasani recalled.
It was then a taxi driver of Mumbai who brought them to a hospital, Eyes R Us, at Kemps Corner, Mumbai. “This is simply because the taxi driver had a child with eyelid problems that had been treated by me,” the doctor noted.
“The plight of the child triggered tears in most of my staff,” says Dr Vasani who is trained in Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery at University of California.
“We decided to accept the challenge,” said doctor Vasani.
“The best skin grafts are those that are from the patient’s own body, but little Meera did not have a centimetre of skin on her body. The parents were urged to donate skin as the next best choice. I opted to take the skin from the back of the mother’s ear.
“It was a good match, otherwise I would have to go to a skin bank,” stated Dr Vasani.
Two little eyelids were then sculpted during a marathon surgery using the parent’s skin and the child’s own muscle and glands. “After surgery, the child is recovering well, her eyes are finally closing sufficiently, and she is sleeping well,” said the doctor.
Dr Vasani claimed that major advancements in plastic surgery are now offering much more benefits to the people.
“We have constructed artificial eyes to such level of authenticity that you would not be able to identify which is real or fake. When patients come back to us, saying we are getting married or getting a job, this is when you feel a deep sense of satisfaction,” said the doctor.