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First Stem Cell transplant for the eyes in Kenya and East Africa | Coastweek

NAIROBI -- Dr. Mukesh Joshi, Medical Director of the Laser Eye Centre in Nairobi, seen [right] after successfully conducting stem cell transplant operation for the eyes of Susan Muthoni, whose blindness was a result of a chemical injury of the eye, and was the recipient of the first treatment of the kind not only in Kenya but the larger East Africa Region.

 

First Stem Cell Transplant for the eyes in Kenya and East Africa

NAIROBI -- As witnessed recently at the Laser Eye Centre in Nairobi, the healthcare industry in Kenya boasts high levels of practice and technological advancements.

Dr. Mukesh Joshi, Medical Director of the Laser Eye Centre, has successfully conducted the stem cell transplant for the eyes.

The entire procedure was completed in less than three hours by Dr. Joshi and his team.

Susan Muthoni, whose blindness was a result of a chemical injury of the eye, was the recipient of the first treatment of the kind not only in Kenya but the larger East Africa Region.

The patient had normal eye sight while in high school, but the laboratory accident caused damaged to one of her eyes.

Muthoni’s quest to regain her sight seemed unachievable and expensive until she came to know about the Laser Eye Centre in Westlands, Nairobi.

Stem cells are very important cells for the nutrition of the cornea which is the first transparent part of the eye, what we call the window of the eye through which rays of the light pass through and focus on the retina.

That is what enables vision.

At the junction of the white and black part of the eye, there are a million tiny cells – these are known as stem cells.

The function of the stem cells is to give nutrition to the cornea to enable it to maintain its clarity since the cornea does not have blood supply.

Due to injuries, like chemical injuries or infections, stem cells get damaged which makes the cornea cloudy and a lot of blood vessels start to run on the cornea as shown in the images below.

As seen in Susan’s case, her opposite eye was normal.

Dr. Mukesh Joshi transplanted stem cells from the opposite eye to the damaged eye.

The stem cell transplant technology requires a lot of minute details.

The damaged part of the cornea is dissected out and all the damaged scars and blood vessels are removed.

Once the the stem cells are taken from the opposite eye, they will not stick to cornea, so a special membrane, known as the amniotic membrane, is derived from the placenta (imported from the USA).

This membrane is applied with special glue (imported from the USA) so it can stick to the damaged cornea.

This membrane and tiny islands of the stem cells are implanted, and special glue is applied.

It is then covered by a bandaged contact lens.

Stem cells will gradually start repopulating and giving nutrition to the superficial layer of the cornea since the cornea does not have blood supply.

With improved nutrition, the cornea will start becoming clear once the new transplanted stem cells get repopulated.

             

 

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