Doctors at the National Eye Centre, Kaduna, have been commended for successfully launching Corneal Refractive Surgery (CRS) services using the Laser Machine, the first of its kind in a Nigerian Public Hospital.
Speaking with newsmen yesterday during the routine one month follow- up on all the five pioneer patients treated via Corneal Refractive Surgery, one of the patients, who is a civil servant, Aisha Suleiman Abdullahi, who had Refractive Error and had used glasses for three years said she was scared initially.
“I didn’t believe our own Nigerian Doctors could handle such a service. I had heard of it being available in India and not Nigeria. My plan before the surgery was to travel to India for it but, when I was informed of the service being available here, I decided to undergo the surgery here at National Eye Centre. That has saved me a lot of millions. Honestly, there is nothing like one seeing with one’s naked eyes. I encourage others to come to Eye Centre because they have enough qualified doctors and they are great.”
A 21-year-old student in Zaria, Barakah Yusuf, said that: “I had been using glasses for seven years but, after this Corneal Refractive Surgery in January 2023, I now do everything without glasses. I will always sell this Refractive Surgery idea to as many people as possible because it is worth doing.”
Other patients, Aisha Nuhu and Zuwaira Jafar, who spoke differently, confirmed that the Refractive Surgery may cost over 3 to 4 million naira or even more in India and Saudi Arabia but they had it at the Centre free of charge. They commended the doctors at the National Eye Centre for their level of professionalism and competence.
Speaking on the essence for the Corneal Refractive Surgery Services at National Eye Centre Kaduna, the Chief Medical Director, Doctor Mahmoud Babanini Alhassan, said, “we want to bridge the technology gap between Nigeria and Europe and reduce medical tourism. We promise to give evidence- based care to our patients”
On the level of training and retraining of the surgeons and support staff, Dr Alhassan maintained that “I am very confident because my doctors are well trained. In fact, three of my surgeons that were on the team for the Corneal Refractive Surgery of the first five patients were trained abroad in big hospitals and establishments in India. We will continue to train and retrain the doctors and support supporting staff to adopt new technologies and skills for efficiency.”
Earlier, a consultant of Ophthalmologist with the National Eye Centre, Dr Peter Jiya said that Corneal Refractive Surgery is not a new procedure adding that over 9.5 million people in the United States of America and more than 40 million worldwide have had Corneal Refractive Surgery (CRS) in the last 25 – 30yrs.
He explained that CRS is a laser procedure in which the cornea, the wind-screen and transparent part of the eye is reshaped (sculpted) so as to finally allow images of objects of regard to be focused clearly on the retina.
According to him, refractive errors are common clinical conditions where people are unable to see very well. “This, he said, is because of the eye’s inability to focus images on the retina.”
He stated that the acceptable standard remedy for refractive errors after diagnosis and clinical investigation (Refraction), is the use of prescribed corrective lenses (glasses) which are given for better sight.
Dr Jiya also said “this surgery is the first of its kind in Nigerian Public hospitals. We at the National Eye Centre, Kaduna collaborated with a foreign Corneal Refractive Surgeon from Algeria on the service.” He further stated that initially, several patients were screened but five of them were found fit and were prepared for the procedure.”
Dr Jiya, who is the head of the Anterior Segment and Cornea Department of the Centre, also said that the patients that had the laser surgery presented with different degrees of errors ranging from minus two to minus nine Diopters.
He added that “this morning, we had their four – week post-operative follow-up and all the operated patients are doing well; their postoperative unaided visual acuity (measurement of seeing ability) is 6/6 (20/20) minimally.” He also said that “the machine we have can laser 15, 20 or more patients per day.”
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