Patients hail Nigerian Doctors as Eye Centre begins Corneal Refractive Surgery
Doctors from 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 medical follow up on all 5 pioneer patients treated via Corneal Refractive Surgery, Aisha Suleiman Abdullahi, a civil servant who had Refractive Error and had used glasses for three (3)years said, “I was scared at the beginning because I didn’t believe our own Nigerian Doctors can handle it, I heard of it in India not Nigeria so I was scared, my plan was to travel to India some years ago, and when I was informed of this service which I intended travelling to India for, I stayed back. It saved me alot of millions. There is nothing like one seeing with your naked eyes, I encourage others to come to Eye Centre because they have enough (qualified) doctors and they are great.”
In a related development, Barakah Yusuf, a 21 years old student in Zaria revealed that she had been using glasses for seven years and couldn’t afford to travel abroad for this service. She added, ” I have never traveled out of Nigeria before, but after this Corneal Refractive Surgery in January 2023, I (now) do every thing 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 4million naira or even more in India and Saudi Arabia. They commended the doctors in Nigeria, particularly the National Eye Centre doctors, 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 supportive staff, Dr Alhassan maintained that “am very confident because my doctors are well trained, infact 3 of my surgeons that were on the team for the Corneal Refractive Surgery of the first 5 patients were trained abroad in big hospitals and establishments in India. We will continue to train and retrain Doctors and supporting staff to adapt to new technologies and skills for efficiency.”
Earlier, Dr. Peter Jiya, Consultant Opthalmologist in the National Eye Centre, explained that Corneal Refractive Surgery is not a new procedure; over 9.5 million in USA and more than 40 million worldwide have had Corneal Refractive Surgery (CRS) in the last 25 – 30 years. He further said CRS is a laser procedure by which the cornea ( the transparent part of the eye) is re-shaped (sculpted), so as to finally allow the images of objects of regard to be focused clearly on the retina. Refractive Errors are common clinical conditions where people are unable to see very well because of the eye’s inability to focus images on the retina. The acceptable standard remedy for Refractive error, after diagnosis and clinical investigation (Refraction) is the use of prescribed corrective lenses ( glasses) given for better sight.
According Dr Jiya, “this surgery is the first of its kind in Nigerian Public hospitals. We in the National Eye Centre, Kaduna, collaborated with foreign corneal Refractive Surgeon from Algeria. Several patients were screened and five (5) were found fit and subsequently prepared for the procedure. The patients that had the laser surgery presented with different degree of error ranging from minus two to minus nine Diopters. This morning, we had our one- month post-operative follow up of all the patients and their visual acuity (measurement of seeing ability) is 6-6 to 6-5 which is very good. The laser machine we have can perform as much as 15 to 20 per day.