A path breaking study and investigation into the ‘Second biggest’ cause of blindness in the country!

While the fact that ‘cataract’ is the single largest cause for vision impairment in the country is now fairly common knowledge, not many would perhaps be aware that vision impairment caused due to failed cataract surgeries or post operative complications is the second largest contributor for the same! a disturbing fact that Dr SS.Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus and Founder Sankara Nethralaya often highlights in his talks, much to the amazement of the audience. The purpose of his observation is to lay a strong emphasis on the need for experience and expertise to perform a high quality cataract surgery, a seemingly simple vision revival procedure. Sankara Nethralaya his institution which can take pride in taking the battle against the biggest cause of blindness to the next level, with the revolutionary Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU) its strategic offensive against the ailment, in the most remote regions of the country, launched its offensive on the second largest contributor of vision impairment, by way of a high level symposium going into the depth of complications in cataract surgery, that come in the way of its success and outcome on the patient.

‘Cataract Catalyst’ – A course in the Management of Complications in Cataract Surgery’ opened to a packed audience at the ITC Grand Chola, Chennai on the 29th of April 2017. The event witnessed the participation of some of the biggest names in the field of ophthalmology like Professor Jeevan Titiyal, Dr Manju Kulkarni, Dr Mohan Rajan, Dr Sujatha Mohan, Dr Lalit Varma, Dr Minu Mathan and several others. As cataract surgeries are performed by surgeons from across all ophthalmic specialties, almost all the senior consultants and heads of every specialty at Sankara Nethralaya were in attendance, which made it a very special event.

The two day event gave an opportunity for surgeons from different ophthalmic specialties share the challenges they faced in performing cataract surgeries on patients with complications like ocular surface and other local disorders not directly related to cataract but nevertheless posing an issue to a successful cataract removal and IOL implantation process, surgical techniques to be adopted in challenging cases where cataract surgery had to be performed on patients with misalignment, patients with one functioning eye, myopia, close angle glaucoma, scleral fixation etc were taken for analysis, processes like Hoffman technique with penetrating keratoplasty, were discussed in length. A critical part of the deliberations was cases where the cataract surgery passes off as a routine process with no specific challenges but the patient develops vision issues, dysphotoptic symptoms, watering of the eye, instances where the vision is good during the immediate post operative period but deteriorates during glass appointment or later and these were taken for detailed discussion. The most important and informative part of the session capturing the spirit of the tag line of its title ‘Navigating turbulent waters – Masters to the rescue’ was the screening of challenging cases by individual surgeons and suggestions and solutions to overcome the same by the senior members from the panel. In short the two day event turned out to be a great learning experience, thanks to the vast exposure to diverse complications in cataract surgery that it provided to the participants and in-depth understanding of the subject enabled by the first hand sharing of their experiences in complexities in cataract surgery by specialists.

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