Puneeth Rajkumar's eye donation benefitted four patients, reveals Bengaluru hospital

Doctors at Narayana Nethralaya, who collected the late actor’s corneas, said they successfully transplanted them in four corneal blind patients.

Soumya Kalasa November 01, 2021 16:40:11 IST
Puneeth Rajkumar's eye donation benefitted four patients, reveals Bengaluru hospital

It’s been three days since the death of Puneeth Rajkumar, the young Kannada actor. His eyes were donated and now, four youth have got a second lease of life because of him. Three male and one female patient underwent transplant surgery in the last two days in Narayana Nethralaya.

In order to abide by the rules and protect the privacy of the patients, details on them weren’t disclosed by the hospital.

Young Eyes

“All four patients are in between 20 to 30 years of age. They were on the waiting list for over 6 months now. Due to covid 19, eye donations had stopped completely. Earlier we used to do at least 200 transplant surgeries per month in our hospital. Things are getting better since last two months. But the waiting list is long. So we made the best use of available eyes and instead of two, we were able to do the successful transplant in four patients” said Dr Bhujang Shetty, Chairman, Narayana Nethralaya to News18.

A foolproof surgical plan

The procedures performed on the patients were two different techniques of lamellar keratoplasty. Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (DALK) – the outer or superficial part of the cornea was transplanted for two young patients with corneal dystrophy and keratoconus. Both these conditions affect predominantly the superficial layer of the cornea, while the deeper part of the eye is normal. Hence, only the superior part was replaced and the endothelium of the patient was retained. This greatly reduces the chance of graft rejection.

Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK) – inner or deeper layer of the cornea is transplanted for two patients with corneal endothelial decompensation affecting the innermost layer of the cornea. In this procedure, only the endothelium is replaced and usually done with a small incision and a few sutures. This avoids full-thickness cornea transplant, is more comfortable for the patient and allows faster recovery.

Not just Four, there are more

These were the surgical details. Further, the limbal rim (white part of the eye near the circumference of the cornea) that was not used for the transplants, has been sent to the laboratory to generate ‘Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells’ for potential use in patients with Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency, chemical injuries, acid burns and other serious disorders.

So there is a very high chance that a few more than these four patients get to see the light of the day thanks to Puneeth Rajkumar.

Dr Yathish Shivanna, Dr Sharon D’Souza, Dr Harsha Nagaraj, Dr Rohit Shetty Dr Gairik Kundu and Mr Veeresh were on the surgical team.

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