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Corneal tattooing can offer hope to patients with blind eye: Experts

Corneal tattooing offers an excellent solution to the people suffering from the end-stage opaque cornea (PIc. Courtesy IANS)

Corneal tattooing offers an excellent solution to the people suffering from the end-stage opaque cornea and improves their aesthetic appearance, suggest eye specialists on Friday.

Corneal tattooing is done for people with ocular injuries that can benefit cosmetically from a tattoo to make them more emotionally confident.

The goal is to match the tattooed eye with the look of a normal eye.

More than 6.8 million people suffer from vision loss in one eye and roughly one million in both the eyes because of corneal diseases.

For common people, the opaque cornea is just a medical condition which makes the person blind from one or both the eyes while making them look a bit different.

However, for the people who suffer from corneal opacity, it is a part of their personality that deeply affects their day to day life.

The condition is especially detrimental for younger people, who could not get married or get a job because of their abnormal appearance.

However, with advanced technologies giving way to some groundbreaking possibilities, such people now have an option of corneal tattooing.

According to experts, corneal tattooing, in case of opacities where treatment indications rule out the option of corneal transplant, can effectively help improve the aesthetic appearance of the patients and give them a chance to live a normal life.

“We suggest corneal tattooing to the patients who are blind in one eye and corneal transplant doesn’t offer a chance of visual rehabilitation. The procedure is specifically beneficial for the young patients who suffer in life just because of the unusual appearance of their eyes,” Dr Ikeda Lal, Cornea and Refractory Surgery Specialist, at Delhi Eye Centre and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, told IANS.

“We can improve the cosmetic appearance of patients with corneal scar and nil visual prognosis.”

Dr Lal explained that while conventional tattooing procedures used lamellar pocket creation, for patients who cannot undergo, a special tattoo gun is used.

“We use an advanced imported tattoo gun which helps us perform corneal tattooing with ease and without any injection or sutures. The technology we are using ensures safety and delivers optimum results.”

Corneal opacity is caused due to scarring of the cornea, a transparent structure placed just in front of the eyeball. In the case of scarring, the light fails to pass through the cornea to the retina, giving the cornea a clouded appearance.

Eye injury, infections and certain eye diseases are the main reasons responsible for corneal opacity which can cause anything from minor irritation to vision loss and even blindness.

In fact, corneal problems are the fourth leading cause of blindness after glaucoma, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration.

“Patients with old corneal scars often also develop a squint which together is very disfiguring,” Professor Rohit Saxena, Dr R P Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, AIIMS, New Delhi, told IANS.

“Those patients who do not have any potential for vision corneal tattooing with corrective squint surgery gives these patients confidence and happiness and helps them to achieve their full potential,” he added.

Corneal tattooing can help people with corneal opacity to live a normal life, without looking different from others.