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Times of India
05 May 2010
By Radha Venkatesan
Coimbatore, India

Tough Procedure: Doctors pulling out the stick from the 16-yrold girl's eye on Tuesday Tough Procedure: Doctors pulling out the stick from the 16-yrold girl's eye on Tuesday
In a rare medical case, a nine–centimetrelong wooden stick was surgically removed from the right eye of a 16–year–old girl at the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital here. Though the sharp wooden piece has been taken out, the girl may have to wait longer to regain her vision, say doctors.

Revathi, a young labourer in Nilgiris, was plucking tea leaves at an estate on Sunday morning. Suffering from epilepsy for the last six years, she suddenly had convulsions and as she fell to the ground, her face hit the wooden hedge planted around the tea estate. A wooden stick from the hedge, the size of an adult index finger, pierced her face and settled dangerously near the eyeball, almost touching the optic nerve. With bleeding injuries in her right eye, she was rushed to the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital on Sunday night.

A quick CT scan showed that the stick, which was jutting out of the eye, had precariously slid right up to the apex of the optical orbit. As she was an epileptic, administering anaesthesia was tricky. “And as the stick was nestled close to the optic nerve, even a slight error would have completely damaged the crucial nerve. So, it was a complicated procedure,”said Prof Vijayaraghavan, head of ophthalmology department at the hospital.

However, in less than an hour, a team of eye doctors gently pulled out the stick from under her right eye. First, the girl was put on general anaesthesia. Then, the wound around the eye was cleaned up and a part of the eye lid was cut open. The adhesions or liquids in the optical orbit were slowly released. As one millimetre of the wooden piece was sticking out, the eye surgeons gently pulled it out of the eye. Then the piece of tea twig sticking in the optical orbit was cleaned up. “The eye was badly infected and swollen. So, we first cleaned up the infected areas and then proceeded with the surgery,”explained Prof Vijayaraghavan.

Five years ago, eye surgeons at the CMCH removed a nail from the eye of a 25–year–old factory worker. He has regained vision after a series of surgeries.

However, the doctors are keeping their fingers crossed over Revathy getting back her eye sight. “We hope she will regain some useful vision. We have to wait and watch her improvement for the next few days,”said Dr P Sivaprakasam, resident medical officer of the government hospital. The girl may have to undergo another painful surgery.

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