Army doctors perform 34 surgeries at 14,000 ft

The Army doctors claimed no such surgeries had been performed earlier at sub-zero temperatures.

New Delhi: Scaling new heights, doctors of the Indian Army have performed 34 cataract surgeries above 14,000 feet in eastern Ladakh, near the India-China border.

The doctors claimed no such surgeries had been performed earlier at sub-zero temperatures.

"It was a unique challenge and an attempt never made before in the field of ophthalmology. We performed stitchless, bloodless and painless cataract surgery at a height of 14,106 feet in eastern Ladakh," said Brigadier JKS Parihar, Consultant and Head of Ophthalmology, Army Hospital Research and Referral in New Delhi.

He led the team of doctors who conducted the surgeries using the phacoemulsification with implantation of foldable Intra Ocular Lenses technique, where ultrasound power is used to break the cataract into minute pieces, which are then sucked out through a small incision and a foldable lens of the required power is then implanted.

"We did not try the conventional method as chances of failure of surgery are too high. The temperatures there could lead to lot of infection post surgery. That is why we carried our machines and surprisingly machines parameters are not suitable to the environment. We had to modify settings of the machine which resulted in safe, accurate surgery and early recovery," he said.

"This is also a part of our research work where we are trying to find if surgeries using sophisticated machines can be performed at such heights. Through this surgery we have ensured that it can be performed successfully. Many of those
operated upon had been virtually living in the dark world of blindness for many years," General Ravi Dastane, GOC, 14 Corps, said.


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