One to four babies out of every one lakh in the West are born without eyes. It’s a condition called Anophithalmia. Unfortunately we do not have the statistics in India but the abnormality isn’t rare in a country with 1.2 billion people says Dr Tarjani Dave from the department of Opthalmic Plastic Surgery at L.V Prasad Eye Hospital in Hyderabad
Anophthalmia doesn’t imply only absence of vision if not fixed at an early age. It disfigures the side of the face which doesn’t have the eye because “ a normal sized eyeball acts as the stimulus for growth of tissue around it”.
While it will ensure that one year old Avula has a normal symmetrical face as she grows up it won’t fix her eyesight ‘Even”.
Dr. Tarjani explains “ no technology in the universe can bring vision to a baby born without an eyeball. When we talk of eye transplants we talk about fixing the cornea black part of the eye. I am glad that Avula’s mother understood us.” Dr. Tarjani credits Avula’s mother for making this implant this experiment happen. And now the hospital is ready to treat more such cases.
“ we doctors had discussed about this implant in one of our morning meetings many months ago. But we moved to other topics. And one day this woman came to us insisting on having normal eyes for her daughter. That’s how this possibility came back to us. Though it cost more than a lakh we wanted to help her as the case was special. Avula is the third child in her family. First she was born a girl and then without an eye so her father did not want her. The mother travelled alone from the outskirts of Vizag for help. What a strong woman? She even convinced her husband to see Avula on the day of surgery. Avula will be so proud of her” says Dr Tarjani who had a team of eight to help her during the surgery and thanks her mentor Dr MilindNaik for procuring the implant from the US.
I ‘m no longer the same doctor
Since Dr Tarjani has a two year old daughter Avika she feels more for kids and their families. “ when you have a child you start comparing everything you are no longer the same doctor who used to be empirical about treatments and patients. I have doubled up as a therapist now healing parents. If I hear a child crying in the waiting hall I ask the staff to bring in the child first” adds Dr Tarjani
She says that at times when she can’t relieve children of their pain or save them from eye cancer she feels like running away from the hospital. She then confides in about her day’s experiences with her husband Dr Vivek who works in the same hospital and also her daughter.
Yes the 32 year old mother writes letters to her baby girl every now and then telling her about the joys of motherhood highs and lows of life and more.
“ I shall give her these letters when she grows up I hope she appreciates them “ says Dr Tarjani who moved to Hyderabad from Mumbai six months ago.
There’s another wish. “ I hope someday these letters become one of the chapters in the famous chicken soup for the Mother’s soul series. I was gifted the book by one of my students . in the hospital as a parting gift. And I totally relate to the book. Motherhood has made me a better responsible and mature person”
COURTESY HYDERABAD CHRONICLE