This 47-year old woman underwent complicated cataract surgery resulting in a tear in the iris, the colored part of the eye which regulates the amount of light that enters in.
Imagine waking up in a dark room, and then suddenly having someone open the blinds, or shine a bright light in your eye. That uncomfortable feeling is what you would experience all day when your iris is torn and tattered like the one you see above. With no way to regulate the amount of light that enters, your eye is constantly blinded by glare, resulting in poor vision and an unhappy life.
We set out to fix this woman’s problem through a procedure known as iris repair, or pupilloplasty (reconstruction of the pupil). After giving her an anesthetic injection underneath the eye, we sterilized her eye and then made very small incisions (about 1mm) into her cornea, or the clear part of the eye. We then used microscopic stitches that are smaller than a human hair to sew her iris back together through our small incisions, using a special sewing technique called a Siepser knot.
It was a long and difficult case and required an enormous amount of patience on our part and on her part. But it was all worth it.
Here she is just three days after her surgery, with 20/25 vision, a nice round pupil, and no more glare and sensitivity to light. What you cannot see in this photograph is the smile on her face, and the appreciation that she could finally live a normal life again.
Complications of cataract surgery can happen in the hands of any surgeon. Luckily, with enough patience, skill, and understanding, most of them can be fixed.
Thank you to my mentor, Dr. Ailani, who made this possible!