Read the first in our patient story series where we look back on a case in which our expert Consultant Surgeon Mike Tappin developed a world-first pioneering surgical technique, now used by surgeons worldwide.
Mr Ron Hoad came to our specialist Consultant Surgeon Mr Mike Tappin at our Guildford clinic after having a routine cataract operation. Unfortunately he had a condition affecting his cornea called fuchs endothelial dystrophy. This meant he was experiencing complications following surgery which led to the cornea becoming cloudy giving further vision problems, especially with glare at night.
Fuch’s endothelial dystrophy (FED) is a slowly progressive disease. There is a slow loss of endothelial cells from the inner layer of the cornea. If the number of cells drops below a critical density the cornea will begin to become cloudy and blur the vision. Although early signs of the dystrophy can be seen in people of their 30s and 40s, the disease rarely affects the vision until the person reaches their 60s or later. Happily, many patients may have microscopic signs of FED without ever having any significant visual symptoms.
After a thorough consultation and discussions with Mr Hoad, it was decided to perform a corneal transplant, which involved a revolutionary technique pioneered by Mike Tappin. Mr Hoad underwent the first true endothelial cell transplant, which was the first of its kind in the world at the time. This technique has now paved the way for the procedure now commonly called, DMEK.
Postoperatively, Mr Road had very successful visual recovery and with new glasses he achieved 20/20 vision. However after some time, the other eye began too become misty. It was decided to undergo combined cataract and corneal surgery at the same time, repeating the technique previously used on his other eye . Within 3 months, Mr Road’s vision was excellent.
The first part of his surgery was performed in February 2005 and the second part in Jan 2006. 12 years on, Mr Road is still experiencing excellent vision and is happy driving and working after the original surgery – a testament to the longevity of results from the pioneering surgery.