Moorfields Dubai performs complex high-risk surgery to bring maths professor back from the brink of blindness

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5 December 2018 (Dubai – United Arab Emirates): Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai (Moorfields Dubai) has performed a complex and high-risk surgical procedure as a last resort to prevent a patient losing his vision. The patient, a 68-year old university mathematics professor from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), was becoming blind in his one sighted (left) eye after he had already lost vision in his other (right) eye, following unsuccessful cataract surgery in his home country. He was unable to work. Dr. Sohaib Mustafa and the Moorfields team performed complex cataract surgery to save the sight in his good eye, and a glaucoma laser procedure to the blind eye to make the eye comfortable. There was an immediate improvement in vision and the patient was able to return to the classroom after a one-month recovery period.
68-year old maths teacher Mr. Francois Ngilambi from DRC presented to Moorfields Dubai with advanced cataract – clouding of the eye’s natural, clear lens – and glaucoma in his one good eye. He had undergone surgery and treatment in his native country, which had not been successful and he was almost completely blind. His condition meant that he was unable to teach and he was losing hope of reversing his loss of sight and recovering.
Mr. Ngilambi had already lost the sight in his right eye following a previous complicated cataract surgery and the eye continued to be painful, with high intra-ocular pressure (glaucoma). The left eye was virtually blind due to cataract and glaucoma. Moorfields Dubai performed the complex cataract surgery to the good left eye and micropulse laser (new technology for reducing eye pressure) to the blind right eye. The cataract surgery was especially challenging because it was the patient’s one remaining sighted eye, with a combination of a dense cataract and glaucoma. Six months after surgery, sight in the left eye has improved to 20/40 6/9 vision.
Dr. Mohammed Sohaib Mustafa, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, Specialist in Glaucoma and Cataract Surgery, Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai, who performed the surgery, commented: “This was a very challenging and complex case as the patient had multiple complications in his blind eye, and so this was a high risk procedure with no room for manoeuvre during the surgery on the good eye. The cataract procedure went very well and the glaucoma is now stable and just requires a single daily eye drop to manage the pressure. We were very pleased with the results and just a day after surgery Mr. Ngilambi was able to move around without help and was happy and smiling, which was a wonderful experience for the Moorfields team. We are very happy to learn that he is now able to go back to teaching his students.”
Moorfields patient, Mr. Francois Ngilambi, added: “I had almost lost hope of finding treatment to reverse the loss of vision in my left eye but after the surgery my vision improved immediately. Now, after the recovery period, I can see very well and I am able to go back to teaching and so I am very happy with the results. Dr Mustafa and the Moorfields team changed my life.”
A cataract is the clouding of the naturally clear lens in the eye, behind the iris and the pupil, which reduces vision. Cataracts are linked to aging and are very common in older people – the most common cause of vision loss in people aged over 40 and is the most common cause of blindness worldwide. There are three principle types of cataracts, which are caused by a build up of protein in the lens and blocking light entering the eye, over time. Cataract surgery (to replace the cloudy lens with a clear, plastic intra-ocular lens – there are different types available) is generally very successful for almost all patients, who usually regain good vision, and it is one of the most frequently performed eye surgeries.