Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Tuesday, 24 June 2008 12:04 UK

Pioneering eye surgery for woman

Gretta Biggar and Sathish Srinivasan
Mrs Biggar recovered sight in her eye a week after the procedure

A woman from Ayrshire has become the first patient in Scotland to undergo a new corneal transplant procedure.

Gretta Biggar, from Kilmarnock, said the surgery, at Ayr Hospital in May, had completely transformed her sight.

The procedure targets only affected areas of the cornea as opposed to the traditional full cornea transplant.

Consultant ophthalmologist Sathish Srinivasan, who carried out the operation, said it restored sight in weeks rather than months.

He said: "Until now in Scotland, the only surgical cure for patients with diseases of the inner layers of the cornea has been a traditional full-thickness corneal transplant operation.

At last I can see the colours of the flowers in my garden and now I can watch the telly as well
Gretta Biggar
Eye patient
"The new transplant surgery, called endothelial keratoplasty, involves replacing only the affected layers of the cornea.

"We carry this out under a local anaesthetic, the patient only needs to come into hospital for the day, and most importantly, it doesn't involve stitches.

"This means patients recover their vision in weeks, compared to almost 15 to 18 months with the traditional operation."

Mrs Biggar said she was delighted with the outcome.

"At last I can see the colours of the flowers in my garden and now I can watch the telly as well," she said.

"I hope more patients benefit from this new surgery."

The Ayr Hospital ophthalmology surgical team has since carried out a second endothelial keratoplasty and has about 20 other patients scheduled for the procedure.


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