Post-Ebola cataract surgery can safely restore vision


In Africa, 2013 Ebola outbreak left thousands of its survivors blind or those who have an impaired vision. But the modern ophthalmology has found a way to correct this impairment, the op brings back the sightseeing safely, journal EBioMedicine reported in one of its recent articles. 

The surgery on eyes is truly exciting, as it improves our ability to impact vision care and quality-of-life for thousands of Ebola survivors at-risk for eye disease, say the researchers from the Ebola Virus Persistence in Ocular Tissues and Fluids (EVICT) study. An eye inflammation that can lead to pain, light sensitivity, and severe vision impairment, often due to cataracts after Ebola virus. World Health Organization supported this important project very actively.

The first surgeries were successfully performed at Lowell and Ruth Gess Eye Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The new study’s authors note that they performed ocular fluid sampling in full personal protective equipment, and their research paper in EBioMedicine provides a diagram showing the layout of the hospital, indicating where sensitive procedures were performed.

Post-Ebola cataract surgery can safely restore vision

Post-Ebola cataract surgery improves quality-of-life for survivors

Thanks to the well-organized programme, the patients were identified through a screening program from 2015-2016 with referrals from eye clinics throughout Sierra Leone. Testing was performed at an average of 19 months after patients’ diagnosis with Ebola virus disease in the first phase of the study and at an average of 34 months after diagnosis of Ebola in the second phase of the study.

Most of the EVICT study participants had cataracts with the different level of impairment or even a total blindness but did not have active eye inflammation at the time of surgery. In EBioMedicine, the layout of the hospital, indicating where sensitive procedures were performed, were shown in details. The surgeries were performed at Lowell and Ruth Gess Eye Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Ebola Virus Persistence in Ocular Tissues and Fluids’ authors note that they performed ocular fluid sampling in full personal protective equipment.

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