MUSCAT: A specialised medical team from the Ophthalmology Department at Al Nahda Hospital successfully performed the first entire thickness corneal transplantation on a 28-year-old woman who was suffering from Keratoconus. The operation lasted for two and a half hours.
Dr Haitham bin Hilal al Mahrooqi, senior specialist for corneal transplant, cataracts and vision correction at Al Nahda Hospital, said that the corneal transplants may be total or partial. Partial transplants have several advantages and fewer complications and a faster recovery period after the operation.
Transplanted rejection rate is less and the life span of the cornea is longer. Presently, there is a global trend to perform this type of operation to its great benefit, Dr Al Mahrooqi said, pointing out that partial transplant can not treat all cases and a complete corneal transplant may be needed in certain cases.
Dr Al Mahrouqi stressed that performing this type of operation in the Sultanate of Oman is a testament to the competence of the Omani cadre who proved that they are qualified to perform this type of operation and ensure the quality of healthcare provided to patients. He added that with the restart of corneal transplant operations 3 months ago, 25 corneas were transplanted. In the past only full-thickness corneal transplants were performed.
Partial-thickness corneal transplant operations are needed in cases of presence of scars in the cornea, Keratoconus, presence of some genetic diseases. Partial-thickness corneal transplants have only 5 per cent risk of rejection compared to full-thickness transplants where the risk can be between 15 and 20 per cent, Dr Al Mahrouqi said.
The National Organ Transplant Programme seeks to localise the corneal transplant service in the Sultanate of Oman through the eye bank that collects and preserves corneas from donors within Oman during the next five years to achieve self-sufficiency to the service available in all governorates of Oman instead of being limited only to the Muscat Governorate.
Restarting corneal transplant operations at Al Nahda Hospital contributed to achieve many positive outcomes including localising the service and achieving self-sufficiency in corneal tissue with the presence of qualified national cadres to perform this type of operation, ensuring the quality of healthcare provided to patients and reducing the number of patients travelling abroad for treatment thereby saving time, effort and money. — ONA