Doctors at a private facility here have helped restore the vision of a 13-year-old girl, who was suffering from a rare eye inflammation caused by tuberculosis, which had not been diagnosed. She was brought to the ophthalmology department of Aakash Healthcare at Dwarka in May, at the peak of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the hospital said. The girl had lost 40 per cent of vision in the left eye and 20 per cent in the right eye, because her parents were afraid of contracting the virus upon visiting a hospital. After two weeks of treatment, a team of doctors at the hospital overcame the perils of the delayed diagnosis and restored complete vision in both eyes to the girl suffering from a rare ocular inflammation caused by undiagnosed tuberculosis, the hospital said.
The treatment took place during the peak of the pandemic and did not require any surgery, it added.
Doctors said the girl had redness in the eyes for about six days, but her parents thought it was a mild eye flu.
However, her vision dropped rapidly, causing panic in the family, and she was brought to the emergency of the hospital with redness and pain in the eyes and low vision in both eyes in the first week of May, where she was diagnosed with granulomatous panuveitis, an eye inflammation that affects about six to seven per cent children in India.
Granulomatous uveitis is an inflammation of the uveal (iris) tract with formation of granulomas, which may be due to an infectious or non-infectious cause.
“Uveitis is uncommon in children, accounting for only five to 10 per cent of all uveitis. Granulomatous uveitis is even rarer and usually can have an underlying cause such as tuberculosis, arthritis or even cancer.
If the vision in only one eye drops, very young children cannot realise this as they continue to see well with the other eye, which can lead to blindness," the hospital said.
The girl’s parents did not take her to the hospital initially thinking the condition could be conjunctivitis, which is a common mistake people make.
All the necessary tests were performed on the girl, which led to the diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB), the hospital said.
“For the inflammation in the retina and the optic nerve, we administered oral steroids along with anti-tuberculosis therapy as per protocols.
We also administered topical steroids and cycloplegic agents (eye drops) for inflammation and pain in the eyes and to prevent posterior synechiae formation that can lead to complications, and anti-glaucoma drops to tackle rise in eye pressure," Dr Vidya Nair Chaudhary, senior consultant, ophthalmology department, Aakash Healthcare, said.
She also said it is a myth that tuberculosis only affects the lungs.
“It can affect the bones, eyes, intestines and other organs as well. In the eyes, it can cause a rapidly-progressive vision threatening disease like uveitis," she added. The girl will be under treatment for TB until complete resolution of the disease.
Uveitis can be seen in very young children as well, which is why a red eye needs to be taken seriously, she said.
“Timely treatment is very important in cases of uveitis. The child gifted our doctors a beautiful, vibrant painting after her vision was restored and I cannot but feel sad thinking what could have happened if she was brought to us a few days later," said Dr Aashish Chaudhry, managing director, Aakash Healthcare.