MAKKAH: Technology has transformed the way ophthalmologists perform eye surgeries, and using advanced surgical techniques, one Saudi doctor was able to change the life of one Frenchman forever.
Dr. Amr Abu Khashaba, a Saudi medical student, in collaboration with his French colleagues at Hospital La Croix-Rousse (HCL) in Lyon, carried out a life-changing surgery for a patient using an innovative approach to eye lens implant surgery, which aims at speeding up the recovery process and to dispense with sutures when fixing the lens.
Abu Khashaba told Arab News that he traveled to France in 2013 on a scholarship from King Abdul Aziz University in Rabigh, where he studied French for a year before his 5-year residency program for the French Board and European Board first at Claude Bernard University in Lyon, then Hospital Edouard Herriot and Hospital La Croix-Rousse, with a subspecialty in retinal medicine and surgery.
Abu Khashaba described the patient’s case as a very difficult one, as he was assaulted and hit in the eye which resulted in a retinal hole, pushing the lens inside and causing loss of sight.
“The operation was aimed at extracting the natural lens from the eye, implanting a special lens, and fixing it using a laser procedure using a technique that was first used in 2019, and very recently performed in France,” he said.
“The technique used in the operation was to reattach and implant the lens by installing clips on the wall of the eyeball. The patient’s case was a rare one that entitled the use of this innovative technique to salvage the whole lens.”
He noted that the classic way to perform the operation would be implanting the lens while performing cataract operations, where the lens is already in place and fixed on the wall of the eyeball, so that doctors then reattach it using sutures. “In the case of this patient, the whole lens fell inside the eye, and he could not have his lens re-implanted in the traditional way,” Khashaba said.
Much of the new technology in ophthalmology is focused on developing existing techniques to improve reliability, consistency and surpass benchmarks for diagnosis and treatment. “Ten to 15 operations are performed every day in France, and we are still researching the efficiency of this type of operation to adopt its methodology in the future, despite the promising experiences and high percentage of success,” he added.
Khashaba pointed out that his studies in Lyon have been very fruitful, with the medical school operating as an independent university by itself. Advances in medical technology are bringing changes to the field of ophthalmology, improving the outcomes.
He pointed out that going to places like Lyon on scholarships presented magnificent opportunities to all Saudi medics. “We were provided unprecedented opportunities to deal with many rare and interesting cases, to acquire great expertise, in addition to getting in direct contact with European countries which have a strict system which does not allow for anyone to integrate the system unless he was a citizen of the country. As a scholarship student and a resident of France, I have the added advantage, and I hope that with the acquired expertise from this scholarship, I can go back to Saudi Arabia, serve my country, and return the favor.”
He said that his father, who is a professor at King Abdulaziz University, was his biggest supporter after the passing of his mother, and that he learnt from him patience, perseverance, and mastery in work, as well as dedication to continuing his career. He expressed his gratitude to the government of King Salman, which is providing great opportunities for Saudis abroad.