A patient in Bangalore, India, known only as Thomas B, had a tumour the size of a golf ball pressing on the optic nerves leading from his eyes to the vision centre of his brain. The tumour was clearly visible on the scan. Surgeons at the Fortis Hospital in Bangalore removed the tumour from Thomas’ optic nerves allowing him to see again. The incision was made through his eyebrow.
During the operation the surgeon peeled back the skin, removed a small rectangle of skull, and then squeezed his instruments between Thomas’ eyeball and his brain. This unusual access route avoids damage to nerve tissue, preserving the patient’s sight, which is important as he is already blind in the other eye. It is an extremely delicate procedure 10 centimetres inside the brain. A mistake could mean a severed nerve or artery, causing blindness or even a massive stroke. The operation was successful.
Dr Deshpande Rajakumar, the neurosurgeon, explained: “Imagine someone who is seeing earlier and then is going bad in the vision. It can be devastating, you know, to himself and to the family. So I think if this guy were to get back his vision in one eye, I think this challenge is worth all the effort.”
The patient will now have a course of radiotherapy to killing off any remaining cancer cells. And afterwards, he plans to return to his studies.