Rare surgery helps Virar woman gain vision

Meenakshi Solanki was diagnosed with Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis, whose symptoms include debilitating headaches, vomiting and nausea

Rare surgery helps Virar woman gain vision
Meenakshi Solanki (left) with her mother

Meenakshi Solanki has regained 40% vision in her left eye after the success of rare optic nerve sheathotomy surgery. She lost vision in both her eyes following severe headaches that first began in February.

The 33-year-old from Virar was diagnosed with a condition called Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis (CVST). “In simple terms, this means clotting veinous channels in the brain around the optic nerve, which affects vision. If untreated, it can result in substantial loss of vision,” said Dr Sunil Morekar, ophthalmologist at Nanavati Hospital.

“There are between two to five cases per million of Cerebral Veinous Sinus Thrombosis reported each year worldwide, and it is not a common condition. Diagnosis is tricky as the symptoms include headaches, nausea and vomiting. A lot of times these symptoms are dismissed, and by the time the patients approach us, a lot of damage is already done. The treatment is primarily directed towards vision preservation,” said Dr Morekar.

In Meenakshi’s case, she too wasn’t alarmed by the headaches initially. “There was no change in my diet or schedule, so I could not understand why I had such a bad headache. I took painkillers for four to five days, but there was no relief,” she said.

Meekakshi was then admitted at KEM Hospital, Parel, where following treatment her headache stopped, but she lost her vision in both her eyes. “Those were the worst days of my life. While I was helpless, the worst part was not being able to see my children and care for them,” she said.

After being admitted to Bombay Hospital, Meenakshi regained vision in left eye, but she couldn’t yet see from her right eye. Following a one-hour-fourty-five-minute surgery on May 15 by a team led by Dr Morekar, she has gained partial vision in her left eye. The other doctors in the team included neurologists Dr Nirmal Surya and Dr Kushal Agarwal and eye surgeons Dr Mayur Morekar and Dr Tanuj Sharma.

“The surgery has been done free of cost,” said Meenakshi’s husband, Chetan. He, however, worries about subsequent medication and treatment as he had to quit this job to be by his wife’s side. “I used to work as a housekeeper on contract basis at Tata Memorial Hospital, but I had to leave my job. I am burdened with loans and I don’t know how to repay them,” said Chetan.

But he lights up at the thought of his wife being discharged from Bombay Hospital on Monday (May 22, 2017). “We never saw this coming, and I am glad we succeeded in getting Meenakshi’s vision back. Though I am worried about the future of my family, I know we will be able to beat all odds,” said Chetan.