MOH News
KKESH Performs Two Retinal Prosthetic Operations for the First Time in the Middle East
04 February 2013
King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital (KKESH) has successfully conducted two implant operations of “retinal prosthetic for the visually impaired” for the first time in the Middle East. The first one was conducted last Saturday, 2nd of February, 2012, on a 36-year-old Saudi man. The second one was conducted on a 51-year-old lady. Retinal prosthetic is a device that benefits patients who suffer from retinitis pigmentosa “Retinopathy”.
 
This statement was made by the General Executive Director of KKESH, Dr. Abdul-Elah Al-Towerki, who further explained that this device is considered a quantum leap in the field of ophthalmology; as such surgeries will help some visually impaired patients on which the conditions of the operation apply to them. He clarified that retinalprosthetic is an accredited device by the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC); this device consists of extraocular units including: spectacles, a camera attached to the spectacles, visual and kinetic processing unit, a connecting link, as well as a data chip implanted within the eye.
 
The camera sends visual data to the visual and dynamic processing unit. Having processed, data is thereafter sent to the sensing center, then to the data chip implanted in the eye. That way the retinal prosthetic device helps the patient to see. The retinal prosthetic device functions to avoid all damaged light receptors as the micro camera attached in the patient’s spectacles (of the device) captures scenes and sends to the microcomputer (the visual and kinetic processing unit), carried by the patient constantly. Afterwards, it is processed and transferred to signals to be resent to the data chip in the eye. Then, the signals are sent to the electric system that sends micro electric signals and ignores damaged light receptors. The remaining cells of the retinal, which transfer visual data by optic nerves to the eyesight center, stimulate the ability of the sense of light. The patient will be able to learn to translate such visions by rehabilitation programs that help improve the level of eyesight.
 
Dr. Al-Towerki indicated that this implant benefits individuals who still have the ability to sense light, or those unable to sense it, in addition to patients who suffer from a severe or acute loss of sight resulting from outer retinal dystrophy; as is the case with retinitis pigmentosa that led to functional retinal dystrophy.
 
Certain criteria have been set for the beneficiaries of such devices; and they are as follows: firstly, to be over twenty-five years old, however, it might sometimes work for a younger age. Secondly, it is suitable for patients who have an acute or deep outer retinal dystrophy, as well as those who have a slight ability to sense light, or are unable to sense light; as they can benefit from the device under the condition that the optic nerve responds to the flash light or the history of sight level for the patient was good before the disease. In addition, the patient must undergo a number of tests to make sure that such operations are suitable for them.
 
Dr. Al-Towerki pointed out that the retinal prosthetic device helps regain partial sight, but not as in the case of normal sight before loss of sight. Through clinical studies conducted on the device, the results have shown patients’ constant improvement of identifying directions and movement. After the operation, the patient should insure to have medical follow-up that takes 20 minutes of a rehabilitation session after the operation, in order for the patient to be able to set the device and train to use it on their own.
 
Dr. Al-Towerki clarified that the device was approved by the Saudi Food & Drug Authority (SFDA). Files of retinitis pigmentosa patients have been reviewed in the hospital; patients who can benefit from this operation have been called and examined for the purpose of identifying the suitable patients to implant retinal prosthetic for the visually impaired. He added, “These progressive achievements and the great development that the hospital witnesses were accomplished with the support of the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince, May Allah protect them, with the auspices of his Excellency the Minister of Health.
 



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